New State DHM for South Heartland Counties begins
June 4, 2020
A new State of Nebraska Directed Health Measure (DHM) took effect for South Heartland District Monday. The new measures are Phase II of relaxing the restrictions put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The DHM will be effective through June 30, unless renewed, extended or terminated by subsequent order.
Michele Bever, SHDHD executive director, said changes in the DHM will expand gathering sizes and allow additional businesses to reopen, but that social and physical distancing and prevention measures will continue to be a focus in order to maintain reduced spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Our trends are showing all of the efforts everyone is making in our counties to practice social distancing and prevention are working to slow the spread of COVID-19 and have kept our healthcare system from being overwhelmed,” she said.
“However, the virus has not gone away and we are not yet out of danger for increased spread of the disease,” she said. “It is important to have a step-wise reduction in restrictions that can ease us toward some normalcy, while doing everything we can to reduce the spread and protect our most vulnerable community members.”
Bever said that the health department will continue to monitor the rates of positive cases and deaths, as well as hospital utilization. “If our trends go the wrong way, the restrictions may be put back in place,” she said.
The DHM requires venues with a rated capacity of 500 or more individuals to submit a “plan for reopening” to their local health department. Bever said SHDHD is working with event planners and businesses to develop their plans which, according to the DHM, must contain “the planned number of guests, how the venue will meet applicable social distancing guidelines, sanitation guidelines and any other applicable DHM requirement.” These plans must be approved by the local public health department before reopening.
“We have an online tool to help guide people through the planning process so that all requirements are addressed in their plan,” Bever said. “SHDHD is also assisting smaller venues and businesses as they develop their plans for reopening. We are happy to answer questions, share relevant guidelines, and help them meet the requirements of the DHM,” she said.
The revised state DHM for South Heartland counties may be viewed on the South Heartland website http://www.southheartlandhealth.org .
South Heartland District case counts by county are updated daily on SHDHD’s COVID webpage: https://southheartlandhealth.org/public-health-data/corona-virus.html. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides daily updates to Nebraska’s coronavirus COVID-19 cases on their Data Dashboard at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.