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KMEG

The number of new coronavirus cases in Iowa in the past seven days surged 51% compared to the previous week, and new COVID-19 hospital admissions also increased along with the number of patients requiring intensive care. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Wednesday there were 11,588 new positive cases in the past seven days. Another 64 deaths raised the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Iowa to 6,401. Iowa’s seven-day moving average of cases is at 1,487 new cases per day, a level not seen since the middle of last January.

Siouxland News

Iowa will use federal coronavirus relief funds to pay for a $3.7 million national ad campaign that promotes the state as a destination for visitors and workers. The 30-second ad funded by the American Rescue Plan is part of a larger “This Is Iowa” promotional campaign. It will air on cable television, online on social media sites and through streaming services this week. Gov. Kim Reynolds says the ad campaign supports state efforts to attract new residents and train existing workers to fill a growing number of high-demand job openings.

KHGI

Governor Ricketts is voicing his opposition to President Biden's new vaccine mandates. In a statement, Ricketts called the mandates a "stunning violation of personal freedom," and said individuals are responsible for taking charge of their personal health. The president announced an executive order yesterday requiring vaccinations for federal workers and businesses with more than 100 employees. Those who do not get vaccinated will be subject to weekly testing. The governor said he is working with the Attorney General to explore legal options to fight the mandate.

Reuters

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nebraska has increased in each of the past ten weeks, and the total nearly doubled over the past two weeks as the highly contagious delta variant of the virus continues to spread. Nebraska reported 5,006 new cases for the week ending Friday, according to an Omaha World-Herald analysis of data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 3,755 the previous week and nearly double the 2,668 cases recorded the week before.

KLKN-TV

Renters across the Omaha metro are no longer protected by the CDC eviction moratorium. The Supreme Court ruled that the CDC does not have the authority to issue an eviction moratorium without congressional approval. There are still millions of dollars in federal rental assistance available through the City of Omaha. Executive Director of  the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless [MACCH] Randy McCoy says the funds will help landlords offer alternatives to eviction.

STAT News

Nebraska’s hospitals are even more crowded now than they were at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in November. That prompted Gov. Pete Ricketts to announce a “staffing emergency” Thursday to try to address a severe shortage of health care workers. The state’s hospitals were treating a 3,162 patients as of Wednesday, up from 3,074 on Nov. 20, when the number of known cases was at its all-time high. Most of the recent hospitalizations aren’t virus-related, however. Ricketts says the increase was driven by patients seeking treatment for other medical problems.

The Today Show

Students and staff at Ralston’s middle school and high schools in suburban Omaha are now required to wear masks following new cases of COVID-19 in the district. Ralston Public Schools announced the change Sunday, saying the policy applies to staff members and students from seventh- through 12th grades. Masking will be required through Sept. 16, when district officials will review the policy. Masks will be available at the schools for students who do not have one. Superintendent Mark Adler says the decision was made after three cases were identified in one classroom at the secondary level.

NE Football Program Under NCAA Investigation

Aug 19, 2021
The Athletic

The NCAA is investigating the University of Nebraska football program.  The Nebraska football program is accused of using analysts and consultants during practices and games. The program is also accused of holding football practices during the pandemic, when the NCAA prohibited them. Sources at the school say there is video footage confirming the violations. The Nebraska AD confirmed the investigation yesterday.

fortine.com

The number of virus cases and hospitalizations across Nebraska has steadily increased in recent weeks as the highly contagious delta variant spreads, following the pattern of other states with relatively low vaccination rates. Nebraska said Wednesday that 2,575 new virus cases were reported in the past week, which is up from 1,976 the week before and more than 10 times higher than the 253 cases a week the state was reporting in late June when officials lifted the last of Nebraska’s remaining virus-related restrictions.

NE Colleges/Tyson Foods All Insist On Full Vaccination

Aug 4, 2021
The Wall Street Journal

Three colleges in Nebraska are requiring students to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Doane University is asking students to have their second dose of the vaccine by September 9th.  Nebraska Wesleyan University is requiring students to be fully vaccinated by August 15th, and Creighton University is requiring all students to be fully vaccinated in order to return to campus.  The vaccination requirements come as the number of new delta variant cases increases. Meanwhile, Tyson Foods will require all U.S.

KFOR

An unusual influx of cash will allow Lancaster County lower its property tax levy, officials said. The county has more more money than usual thanks to federal pandemic aid, a large carry-over of money from this year’s budget and a total revaluation of property in the county. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that most of that money won’t be used in the county’s $128.5 million general fund budget, which is supported by property taxes, but officials still plan to lower the tax levy by 1 cent per $100 of valuation. The general fund budget will increase by about $5.1 million.

The Reader

Thousands of Nebraskans who are behind on their rent could face eviction now that the federal ban on evictions expired as of Saturday. Nebraska has dedicated $200 million from the coronavirus aid package Congress passed in December to helping people pay outstanding rent and utility bills, but so far only about $24.6 million has been distributed. Scott Mertz, an attorney with Legal Aid of Nebraska, says the number of evictions is expected to surge following the end of the moratorium, but it’s not clear by how much.

Lincoln Journal Star

Public health officials have expressed growing concern about an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Nebraska, primarily among residents who haven’t been vaccinated. Officials say they were worried about the slow-but-steady increase in infected people who end up hospitalized, putting pressure on COVID-19 treatment units. Nebraska reported 978 new cases in the week ending Thursday. That's a 42% increase over the previous week and exactly double the 489 new cases logged two weeks earlier.

Covid Patients Filling ICU Beds Once More

Jul 27, 2021
EU

The Douglas County Health Department reports 137 new confirmed COVID-19 infections over the weekend.  The total number of cases now tops 73-thousand.  There were no new deaths reported, so that toll remains at 737.  Officials say just under 53-percent of all Douglas County residents have received one dose of the vaccine.

KOLN

State health officials have reported Nebraska's first human case this year of West Nile virus. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported Friday that a county health department officials in northeastern Nebraska reported a person there had tested positive for the mosquito-borne illness. The Elkhorn-Logan Valley Health Department, which covers Burt, Cuming, Madison and Stanton counties, says the infected person was not hospitalized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most people with West Nile virus don’t have symptoms.

KHGI

Nebraska schools are getting conflicting advice from state and federal health officials over whether students should quarantine after contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. The state Department of Health and Human Services is telling schools that students who had contact with an infected person would not have to quarantine as long as they don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19. But the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that students who aren’t vaccinated and have close contact with an infected person should still quarantine.

KMEG

The number of COVID-19 cases reported in Nebraska jumped last week, but the rate of new cases remained below the national average. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the state recorded 456 virus cases last week, which was up from 253 and 181 in the two previous weeks. Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the state’s rate of new cases per capita ranked 23rd among the states last week. Dr.

UNO Gateway

Nebraska plans to stop reporting coronavirus numbers online after this week. The state Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that it planned to retire the online dashboard that it has used to report statistics on the coronavirus pandemic for more than a year. The current state virus emergency also was set to expire on Wednesday, and along with that Nebraska would eliminate the last few social distancing guidelines that remain in place. As of its final update Wednesday, the state had reported 224,488 virus cases and 2,261 deaths linked to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Rural Health Information Hub

Nebraska health officials are continuing to work to persuade residents of rural parts of the state, where coronavirus vaccination rates remain low, to get their shots. The Omaha World-Herald reports that vaccination rates in the state’s rural counties tend to lag far behind the rates in the state’s urban counties. Only about 40% of the adults in rural parts of Nebraska are fully vaccinated compared with more than 60% of those living in the state’s metropolitan areas. As part of the effort to reach rural areas.

KHGI

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is offering incentives to faculty, staff and students who voluntarily sign up for a registry showing they are vaccinated against COVID-19. The incentives include five prizes worth a total of $9,872 — equal to one year of in-state tuition and fees — or a trip to Ireland to watch the Huskers play football in August 2022. The university announced the initiative in a letter to students and staff on Wednesday. Anyone who registers by Aug. 15 will be eligible for the incentives.

New data released Wednesday shows that Nebraska’s unemployment rate remained one of the lowest in the country as it fell even lower in May. The state’s 2.6% unemployment rate tied with Vermont for the second-lowest rate in the nation, behind only New Hampshire’s 2.5% unemployment. Nebraska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined in May to 2.6% from April’s 2.8% as the number of jobs in the state continued to grow.

KTLA

Nebraska is approaching having 70% of its adult population vaccinated for the coronavirus but the pace of distribution of the shots continues to slow down. The state may be close to President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% or more of all adults with at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 63% of Nebraskans 18 and older had received at least one shot as of Friday, That rate ranks 24th among all the states.

Iowans Prepare To Lose Pandemic Unemployment Benefits

Jun 11, 2021
WeAreIowa.com

Iowans on unemployment will lose their additional 300-dollar federal unemployment payments starting Monday.  Iowans stand on both sides of the issue.  Some say Governor Kim Reynolds is ending unemployment benefits for political gain, while others say Iowans on unemployment need to be more focused on getting a job.  Business Centric Technology says there are currently about 15 percent more jobs available across the country than before the coronavirus pandemic.

Omaha World Herald

Nebraska restaurants can now offer carry-out alcohol permanently under a new state law inspired by Gov. Pete Ricketts’ efforts to help struggling businesses during the pandemic. Ricketts announced that he signed the measure into law. It went into effect immediately. The governor issued an executive order to allow carry-out alcohol in March 2020 to aid restaurants that were struggling financially because of the pandemic and mandatory social distancing restrictions. The order proved popular with the public, and some restaurants reported that it had helped their sales.

Gage County

A Nebraska county that was ordered to pay a $28.1 million legal judgment for sending six innocent people to prison will get $4 million from the state to help pay it off. Gov. Pete Ricketts signed off on the payment on Tuesday, despite raising objections to a 2019 measure that allowed Gage County to impose a half-cent sales tax without voter approval to pay some of the debt. Ricketts says he approved the new law because of the additional economic impact of the pandemic on county residents.

NPR

Mask mandates are expiring in several of the state’s largest cities as more people continue to get vaccinated for the coronavirus. Lincoln’s mask mandate will expire at the end of Thursday, Omaha’s will disappear at the end of next Tuesday and in the Omaha suburbs, Ralston ended its mandate earlier this week. The state has seen infection rates come down as vaccinations have become more widely available. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska decreased over the past two weeks, going from 198.71 new cases per day on May 3 to 100.14 new cases per day on Monday.

KLKN-TV

Gov. Pete Ricketts is predicting a return to normal in Nebraska’s K-12 schools by this fall after a year of coronavirus restrictions that included mask-wearing in classrooms and remote learning. Ricketts says the state appears to be in good shape with its vaccination efforts and virus-related hospitalizations, which have now fallen below 100 statewide. He made the comments as he encouraged Nebraska’s new high school graduates to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

Times Of India

Nebraska health officials said an extremely contagious variant of the coronavirus that was first identified in India has been confirmed in the state. The first case of the virus variant, officially known as the B.1.617 variant, was found in a Lancaster County resident who has ties to international travelers. The discovery of the new variant comes as the state was reporting a relatively small number of new cases of the virus. Nebraska health officials said Wednesday that 1,368 new virus cases had been reported over the past week, down slightly from 1,397 cases the week before.

A sweeping bill that would shield Nebraska businesses and local governments from coronavirus-related lawsuits has won initial approval from state lawmakers, despite some complaints that senators haven’t done enough for workers who were at risk. Lawmakers advanced the proposal, 39-3, through the first of three required votes. The measure would bar pandemic-related lawsuits against businesses or governments as long as they were following federal public health guidelines. At least 29 other states have enacted laws addressing the issue, including 12 that are similar to the Nebraska proposal.

Nearly half of Nebraska’s adult population has now been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The state said Monday that 49.6% of the population aged 16 and up has now been fully vaccinated and more than 1.5 million doses of the shots have been administered across Nebraska. The campaign to distribute the shots continues to make progress across the state although the pace of vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks as demand has weakened.

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