This morning, Governor Pete Ricketts held a press conference to provide an update on the State’s coronavirus response. He announced that the State will soon issue revised Directed Health Measures (DHMs). The updated DHMs will change the quarantine requirements for individuals who’ve recently received a positive antibody test.
Felicia Quintana-Zinn, Deputy Director of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), joined the Governor to share data confirming the safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines.
The Governor also announced two new initiatives the State is undertaking to support military families and veterans. Jason Jackson, Director of the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services (DAS), announced the launch of the State’s new Military Spouse Transition Program. The program helps military spouses identify job leads in state government after moving to Nebraska.
Nichole Reiner, Chief Strategy Officer with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, spoke about the State’s new participation in the Department of Defense (DoD) SkillBridge Initiative. Through SkillBridge, the State of Nebraska is helping to connect service members with state agencies and private employers in search of skilled professionals. SkillBridge participants earn job skills and real-world experience to help guide their entry into the Nebraska workforce. Any service member or Nebraska employer is eligible to participate in the program, which can be tailored to any career or industry, at no cost.
Gov. Ricketts: Directed Health Measures
- In the coming days, we’ll issue updated Directed Health Measures statewide.
- The new DHMs reflect CDC guidance about quarantining.
- Unvaccinated individuals with a positive antibody test 1) within the three months before an exposure to COVID-19 or 2) immediately following exposure to COVID-19 do not need to quarantine.
- This assumes they are not in regular, close contact with someone at high risk to the virus (such as older adults or those with underlying conditions).
- After a close contact, individuals with a positive antibody test are expected to wear a mask in public for the appropriate timeframe instead of quarantining.
Felicia Quintana-Zinn: Coronavirus
- Our public health data confirms that coronavirus reinfection is extremely rare.
- DHHS has identified 162 possible reinfections among Nebraska residents. These are individuals who tested positive more than 90 days after their first infection, who were found to have a higher level of virus in the recent specimen than what could be considered “persistent positivity.” Among patients with possible reinfections, only four have been hospitalized. These numbers are very small.
- Our data shows that coronavirus vaccinations have been very successful at preventing infections and severe illness.
- Per CDC definition, as of last Friday, DHHS has identified 122 possible vaccine breakthroughs among Nebraska residents. Vaccine breakthroughs include individuals with positive tests 14 days or more after completing a vaccination series. Out of the 428,201 Nebraskans fully vaccinated, this represents just 0.03%, indicating the vaccine is working for more than 99% of people who receive it. Out of 6,390 total hospitalizations, only three have been among vaccinated individuals. That is .05% of COVID-19 hospitalizations. Again, these numbers are extremely small.
- Any significant medical event that occurs after vaccination is taken very seriously and is thoroughly investigated.
- Ongoing safety monitoring in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through CDC and FDA has been reassuring. Fewer than 10 significant health events have been reported throughout the United States among all Americans who have been vaccinated with any vaccine. Close monitoring of safety data has not revealed any concerning patterns regarding these rare medical events.
- I want to remind everyone that Nebraska is now in Phase 2B, which means anyone in the state 16 and older can get vaccinated. There are several options available to you. Register at vaccinate.ne.gov or with your local health district. You can also check with area pharmacies that may be scheduling appointments. Please schedule your vaccination today and help Nebraska to Finish Strong.
Jason Jackson: Military Spouse Transition Program
- Governor Ricketts has tasked us with becoming a leading employer for families as well as a place for veterans and military personnel to continue their careers in public service.
- As a veteran, I’m proud to announce the official launch of an initiative that contributes to both of those goals: the Military Spouse Transition Program.
- The Military Spouse Transition Program helps military spouses moving to Nebraska to identify job leads in state government.
- It delivers career services—such as resume building, skills translation, and informal contacts—in support of military spouse re-employment.
- More information about the program can be found on the Department of Administrative Services website at das.nebraska.gov/personnel/sos/military.html.
- We are excited to implement the Military Spouse Transition Network to help further Nebraska’s goal of becoming the most veteran-friendly state in the country
Nichole Reiner: Veterans’ SkillBridge Initiative
- Each year, approximately 200,000 members of the U.S. military stationed all around the world transition or retire from military life. Of those 200,000, approximately 1,000 of these highly skilled professionals are located at Offutt AFB in Bellevue. These individuals either re-enter the workforce or pursue higher education.
- DoD’s SkillBridge Program creates connections between our nation’s military members, spouses, or dependents and our Nebraska employers and communities.
- SkillBridge connects service members with real-world industry partners during and up to their final 180 days of service. This relationship provides direct job skills training and work experience, and gives participants a chance to explore the best fit for their specific talents and interests.
- The program is free to participating organizations since the member is still receiving their active duty pay and entitlements.
- Interested parties can contact me at Nichole.Reiner@nebraska.gov for more information.
Video from this morning’s press conference is available by clicking here.