4.2.2020 – First COVID-19 Case in PHS District

April 2, 2020                                                                   

First Confirmed COVID-19 Case and Related Death Reported in PHS District

Public Health Solutions (PHS) reports the first confirmed COVID-19 case within the district. The patient, a female in her 90’s with multiple underlying health conditions, was a resident of an assisted living facility in Gage County. PHS regrets to report the patient was hospitalized and passed away on 03/31/2020. Confirmatory lab results were received by the health department on 04/01/2020.

Click to view full news release.

3-22-2020 Flattening The Curve – History Tells Us Why Community Mitigation Strategies Matter

DHHS News Release

March 22, 2020

For Immediate Release: 3/22/2020

Leah Bucco-White, Communications, 402-309-4157 leah.bucco-white@nebraska.gov

Khalilah LeGrand, Communications, 402-853-1320 khalilah.legrand@nebraska.gov

LINCOLN – For many Nebraskans, COVID-19 will be like a cold. But for some of our parents and grandparents, it could be very severe, and could result in death. Recent data shows that the virus is also affecting younger people. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report said 20% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 in the U.S. were 20-44 years old. Even if you are healthy, you can pass COVID-19 on to others who can be severely affected. Help protect those you love by avoiding crowds, distancing yourself from other people and isolating yourself even if you think you just have the “sniffles.” We all have a responsibility to protect our loved ones, and others’ loved ones.

Flattening the curve – The phrase “flattening the curve” refers to the same potential number of cases appearing over a greater period of time. When a spike in cases occurs, health care resources can be overwhelmed. A flatter curve is slower, allowing people to recover and hospitals can continue to provide care to families, friends and neighbors who need it. Flattening the curve means everybody does their part to reduce spread for as long as possible.

Flattening the Curve

Source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionWhat history tells us – Influenza struck the United States in spring 1918. By summer it seemed the outbreak was over, but a second wave of cases occurred in September. Two cities’ responses to the return of disease shed light on why today’s efforts to “flatten the curve” are so important.

Philadelphia officials didn’t want to cancel a major, city-wide parade, worried about causing a panic. Eight hundred and eighty-five miles to the west, in St. Louis, Missouri, public officials had already cancelled that city’s parade.

On September 28, about 200,000 Philadelphians in close quarters watched the parade of floats and marching bands. The first flu cases showed up two days later. By the end of the third day, flu patients filled every bed in every hospital in the city, and by the end of the week, 2,600 people had died. Over the next several weeks, more than 12,000 people in Philadelphia died of the flu.

Meanwhile, in St. Louis, only about 700 people died of the flu. Keeping people home saved thousands of lives in St. Louis, while people gathering in large numbers cost thousands of lives in Philadelphia.

Social distancing doesn’t prevent all disease but it can prevent a spike in cases so severe that hospitals become overwhelmed.

What we can do now – As Nebraskans, we face our challenges together and we all have a role to play this response. Here’s what you can do now to slow the spread of disease in your community:

Community measures:

  • Practice social distancing which means put at least 6 feet of space between you and others.
  • Follow 10-person gathering limit guidance
  • Social and public gatherings are limited to 10 people.
  • Bars and restaurants are limited to 10 people and are strongly encouraged to move to drive thru, take-out, delivery only.
  • Child care providers should also follow the 10-person guidance with the goal of reducing class sizes and increasing space between children.
  • Grocery stores will continue operations but should prioritize ordering, pickup, and delivery.

With community transmission of COVID-19 now occurring in the metro area, stricter and enforceable directed health measures are now in place for Cass, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington Counties.

Personal measures:

  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid contact with sick people
  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Higher risk groups

Certain people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. People in these higher-risk groups should: 

  • Stock up on supplies , including extra necessary medications.
  • Take everyday precautions  to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds  as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel  and non-essential air travel.
  • If there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home  as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will continue to update Nebraskans through http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC’s website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19 .


3-20-20 Four Additional Cases of COVID-19 Identified in Three Nebraska Counties

3-17-2020 – Additional Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Reported to DHHS

3-16-2020 – Gov. Ricketts Media Release

Latest DHHS News Releases

Beatrice Open House

Public Health Solutions  invites you to an Open House for our new location in Beatrice. Please join us at 516 Court Street in Beatrice on Thursday, September 12th from 10:30 to 1:30pm.

Ribbon Cutting at 10:30am.

Short reception with refreshments to follow. Learn about our family support program for residents of Gage and Jefferson County. Our program works to strengthen families with children aged birth to three, and their parents.


For more information, please contact Laura Wooters at 402-223-0067.



Beatrice Office Moves Location!

The Public Health Solutions Beatrice office, home of Healthy Families Gage and Jefferson Counties program is moving!

Starting July 1, you can find them at their new home, 516 Court Street. This location will be more accessible for the public, community partners, and most importantly for the families being served through the program! Phone numbers will remain the same in case you need to contact our staff at their new location.

An open house will be scheduled in July. More information to come!

Are you ready for tick season?

With warmer weather comes tick season. If you plan on any outdoor activities, it may be a good idea to brush up on tick prevention information to keep yourself and your family safe. Tick are normally found near the ground in bushy or wooded areas. Though they cannot jump or fly, they still manage to find a way to a host. Ticks will climb tall grasses and shrubs and wait for a host to brush up against them. At that point, ticks will make their way to your skin and attach.

So how can you protect yourself from these opportunistic arachnid? If you know you’ll be outdoors, particularly in wooded or bushy areas, prevention is key!

  • Use insect repellent with DEET.
  • Wear permethrin-treated clothes.
  • Treat dogs for ticks.
  • Check for ticks after outdoor activities.
  • Shower soon after coming indoors.

If you do find a tick has attached to you, there are safe ways to remove ticks. Tick removal steps include:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the tick’s mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with clean tweezers.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

If you develop a rash or fever within a few weeks of after removing a tick, be sure to visit your primary care physician. Make note of when you were bit and where you most likely got bit.

For more information, read this pamphlet on tick-borne illness or contact our offices.