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New DHMs to take effect Saturday

New DHMs to take effect Saturday

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LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the State is moving from the “blue” to “green” phase of its coronavirus pandemic response plan. As a result, the State of Nebraska is issuing new Directed Health Measures (DHMs) effective 12:01 AM on Saturday, January 30. The new DHMs change some of the restrictions put in place to help manage the coronavirus pandemic.

Nebraska’s pandemic response plan links DHM restrictions to the percentage of staffed hospital beds in Nebraska filled by coronavirus patients. The percentage is below 10% (seven-day rolling average), which is the threshold for the State moving to the “green” phase of its pandemic plan.

Moving from the “blue” to “green” phase involves the following DHM change:

• The maximum capacity for indoor gatherings, including youth extracurricular activities, goes from 75% to 100%.

• Organizers of gatherings of 500 or more people (1,000 or more in Douglas County), must still submit a reopening plan to their local health department—and receive approval—before holding their events. Aside from this requirement, there are no restrictions on gatherings/venues in the “green” phase of the State’s plan. However, guidance is still in place and recommended.

The new DHMs have updated quarantine requirements.

• Nebraskans who’ve been fully vaccinated (received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine) do not have to quarantine after a close contact. Instead, they will be in the “self-monitor” category, which involves wearing a mask for 14 days from the date of exposure and monitoring for symptoms.

• Nebraskans who have recovered from the coronavirus in the past three months do not need to quarantine after a close contact, though they’re encouraged to monitor for symptoms.

The new DHMs also amend the definition of “close contact” to clarify that exposures start 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or positive test.

The revised DHMs are posted on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website. Executive Order 21-02 remains in force. It gives public bodies the option to meet virtually by videoconference or teleconference through April 30.

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