Here's a timeline of COVID-19 in Nebraska:
Dec. 31, 2019
» Dozens of people are being treated for pneumonia of an unknown cause in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, China. According to the authorities, some patients were vendors in the Huanan Seafood market.
Jan. 11, 2020
» China reports its first death.
» A man in his 30s becomes the United States’ first coronavirus case when he tests positive after returning to Washington state from Wuhan.
» Local doctors say Nebraskans should be more concerned about the flu.
» The World Health Organization declares a global health emergency as the death toll tops 200 and nearly 10,000 are infected.
» The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services begins working on a plan to bring Americans back to the United States. University of Nebraska Medical Center Chancellor Jeffrey Gold says they could end up in Nebraska.
» A Chinese doctor who was silenced by police for trying to share news about the coronavirus dies from the disease.
» Fifty-seven Americans who were in Wuhan land in Omaha and are shuttled to the Nebraska National Guard’s Camp Ashland.
» Thirteen Americans who tested positive for or were exposed to the coronavirus are taken to the UNMC campus after landing at Eppley Airfield.
» UNMC begins the first clinical trial in the United States of an experimental treatment for the novel coronavirus.
» Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and health officials announce that a 36-year-old Omaha woman is the state’s first confirmed case of a person with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
» Possible coronavirus exposure at a Special Olympics event in Fremont, attended by the first Nebraska patient, prompts calls for self-quarantine.
» Ricketts says Nebraska could be dealing with the coronavirus for the next nine to 12 months.
» The Nebraska School Activities Association restricts attendance at the Nebraska high school boys basketball tournament to only immediate family members of the players and coaches on official rosters.
» The WHO declares the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
» President Donald Trump announces that most travel from European countries other than the United Kingdom will be halted for 30 days.
» The NCAA men’s basketball tournament — with Omaha scheduled to host games in the first two rounds — is canceled.
» The College World Series in Omaha is canceled.
» CEO Warren Buffett announces that Berkshire Hathaway shareholders won’t be able to attend the May 2 annual meeting in Omaha.
» Trump officially declares a national emergency.
» Nebraska has its first case of community spread. Limits are placed on public gatherings.
» UNO and UNL students pack up and head home, weeks earlier than planned.
» Ricketts announces that no more than 10 people should gather at once at restaurants, taverns, church services and day care centers.
» Omaha Archdiocese and Lincoln Diocese cancel public Masses and communal celebrations.
» Offutt Air Force Base cancels military travel and leave.
» Omaha-area schools close indefinitely.
» New coronavirus cases are reported in Sarpy County and northeast Nebraska; the state’s total reaches 23.
» The City of Lincoln declares a state of emergency.
» Schools close for six to eight weeks and bars shut down after a second community spread case is reported in Douglas County.
» UNMC’s chief says Omaha-area hospitals are not yet near capacity. He credits people staying home.
» Public gatherings in Douglas County with more than 10 people are prohibited.
» Local hospitals postpone nonessential surgeries for 90 days to prepare for a surge in coronavirus cases.
» The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium extends its closure through the end of April.
» Legal groups request a moratorium on eviction and debt collection cases in Nebraska.
» Creighton University cancels its May commencement ceremonies.
» Buffalo and Lancaster Counties report their first cases.
» The Omaha Housing Authority temporarily halts evictions.
» Omaha police precincts close to the public. A call center opens to handle low-priority incidents.
» The Omaha mayor and Douglas County Board chairman send a letter to local rental property owners asking them not to evict people who are unable to pay rent during the pandemic.
» Ricketts calls for Nebraskans to self-quarantine after travel to Denver, Kansas City or Chicago.
» Beauty salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage parlors and similar businesses in the beauty service industry are asked by health officials to stop operations.
» Douglas County postpones criminal and traffic arraignments.
» Nebraska unemployment claims rise as more workers are laid off due to the coronavirus.
» Saunders and Lancaster Counties see their first cases of community spread.
» The Nebraska Legislature approves and Ricketts signs into law an $83.6 million measure for the coronavirus fight.
» Nebraska’s first coronavirus patient is removed from a ventilator and able to talk to her family.
» The United States becomes the country with the world’s most confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 81,000 confirmed infections and more than 1,000 deaths.
» Nebraska records its first two COVID-19 deaths, a 59-year-old Omaha man and a Hall County woman in her 60s.
» After it is passed by Congress, Trump signs a $2 trillion stimulus bill that includes cash for regular Americans as well as assistance for small businesses.
» Ten more coronavirus cases are reported in Douglas County as Nebraska’s total tops 100.
» Methodist Health System puts in place visitor restrictions to protect patients, staff and the community.
» Ricketts, speaking on Jake Tapper’s Sunday show on CNN, says Nebraska will follow its own plans and guidelines on when to open local schools and businesses.
» Omaha’s mayor and Douglas County’s health director admonish Omahans for not doing enough social distancing, especially at large retailers.
» Nebraska records its fourth COVID-19 death as cases rise to 177. The Douglas County total reaches 90.
» UNL, UNO, UNMC and UNK announce they won’t hold traditional graduation ceremonies in May.
» Ricketts announces that the limits on public gatherings, restaurants and bars are likely to continue past April 30.
» White House officials project between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths in the U.S. and the virus’s peak in mid-April.
» The Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police says it wants Nebraska officers to be told when going to the homes of people with COVID-19.
» A former Omaha TV meteorologist is arrested and accused of threatening the Douglas County health director over the county’s coronavirus response. (In September, the former TV personality, Ronald G. Penzkowski, takes a plea deal and is found guilty by a judge. Sentencing is set for October.)
» Ricketts says Nebraska is “months” away from having widespread coronavirus testing available.
» A UNMC study suggests the coronavirus has airborne transmission potential, but it also says more study is necessary.
» Global cases top 1 million and at least 51,000 people have died.
» High schools in the Omaha Public Schools announce they won’t hold traditional graduation ceremonies in May and instead will host virtual celebrations.
» The Douglas County Courthouse closes for at least two weeks, with limited access to the general public.
» Creighton University closes its campus to all but a select few.
» Ricketts pledges state support, including more testing, to Grand Island. The city is a hot spot for the coronavirus.
» The Douglas County Health Department says people should wear masks in public.
» Nebraska hits 523 coronavirus cases and 14 deaths.
» Omaha closes all city parks through April 30 in an effort to slow the spread.
» The Omaha Summer Arts Festival is canceled.
» Douglas County reports its sixth death related to COVID-19.
» Ricketts issues an executive order to give COVID-19 patients’ addresses to first responders.
» The number of Nebraskans known to be infected by the coronavirus rises to 871.
» Trump states that he will stop funding the WHO.
» Grand Island becomes the area with the highest number of coronavirus cases in Nebraska.
» Ricketts unveils a program called TestNebraska that aims to dramatically increase coronavirus testing in the state as part of a push to get Nebraskans back to work.
» Ricketts says meatpacking plants need to stay open despite coronavirus cases.
» Cases in Nebraska exceed 2,000, with 47 deaths reported.
» Ricketts announces that restaurants in several areas of Nebraska will be open to dine-in customers again starting May 4, with limitations. And statewide religious services, prayer gatherings, weddings and funerals will be held again.
» Mayor Jean Stothert announces that Omaha parks will reopen April 25.
» Health officials ask Grand Island-area residents to avoid group gatherings until the number of positive cases there begins to drop.
» The U.S. becomes the first country to surpass 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases.
» Nebraska and Iowa tell workers to return to their jobs if called or lose unemployment benefits.
» State Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha announces the death of his father from COVID-19.
» Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour lifts some restrictions in Douglas County, which include allowing faith communities to have services, and restaurants and many previously closed businesses to reopen with social distancing requirements still in place.
» Douglas County reports its 17th coronavirus death as statewide cases near 6,800.
» Coronavirus cases surge in Dakota County in the wake of testing at a Tyson meatpacking plant. The county leads the state in confirmed cases.
» Nebraska's coronavirus death toll reaches 100.
» An inmate at Omaha’s Community Corrections Center becomes the first in the Nebraska prison system to test positive for COVID-19.
» Life Care Center of Elkhorn reports 68 cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff.
» A 10th resident at Life Care Center of Elkhorn dies.
» The Omaha zoo reopens with regulations.
» Bars reopen, and certain low- and intermediate-contact sports are allowed.
» Statewide, 14,345 cases and 178 deaths are reported.
» Health officials confirm Nebraska’s first and second cases of a rare but potentially deadly inflammatory condition in children that may be associated with COVID-19.
» Ricketts tells local governments they won't get federal COVID-19 money if they require masks.
» Bars and restaurants in Omaha can open dining rooms to 100% of their capacity, up from the previous 50%. Patrons are allowed to sit at the bar, and maintaining a 6-foot distance between tables becomes a recommendation rather than a rule.
» Douglas County Board votes to allocate up to $6.2 million in federal funds for a mass vaccination program.
» Omaha Public Schools officials unveil a fall reopening plan that would divide students into two groups who would each attend school in-person part of the week.
» Millard and Elkhorn school districts inform families they will open for all students in August.
» Douglas County allocates $4 million for utilities assistance as OPPD and MUD resume shut-offs.
» Nebraska COVID-19 case counts are stable as numbers rise in much of the nation.
» A new COVID-19 testing site opens near the former Sears store at Crossroads Mall.
» The pandemic claims its 100th victim in Douglas County.
» Millard Public Schools announces that students and staff will be required to wear masks when they return in August.
» The Big Ten announces it is moving to a conference-only schedule for all fall sports, including football, becoming the first power conference to drastically change its season due to the coronavirus outbreak.
» Increased coronavirus cases among 20-somethings cause a surge in Lincoln, and health officials draw up a plan to clamp down on the spread — before UNL opens.
» The Omaha teachers union asks Omaha Public Schools to switch to remote learning.
» Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announces that anyone visiting public places in Lancaster County will be required to wear face masks. Gov. Rickett's team reviews legal options to stop the mandate.
» Of the nation’s 3,000 counties, northeast Nebraska's Dakota County has the nation’s 23rd-highest per-capita death rate.
» To date, COVID-19 has killed 301 Nebraskans and more than 140,000 people nationwide.
» The Nebraska School Activities Association announces it intends to go ahead with fall sports.
» Millard schools join other districts in giving parents the choice of fully remote learning.
» Nebraska sees a surge in COVID cases. Douglas County’s weekly positivity rate passes 9% for the first time since mid-June. Lancaster County’s rate jumps to 9.4% — a weekly figure the community hadn’t seen since early May.
» Two Lincoln bars and the Railyard commons are closed for violations of the city’s directed health measure.
» The Omaha Public Schools suspend school-sponsored workouts and cancel in-person graduation ceremonies.
» Douglas County’s health director backs off a mask mandate for Omaha after the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office challenged her ability to implement one.
» Ricketts says the state would sue if Pour required masks in Douglas County.
» Nebraska meatpacking workers implore the Legislature to require plants to adopt more coronavirus safeguards.
» The Omaha City Council votes 7-0 to implement a mask mandate.
» The Big Ten officially decides to postpone all fall sports, including football, with hopes of playing in the spring.
» The Big East joins the growing list of conferences not playing sports in the fall.
» State legislators close out a unique, coronavirus-interrupted session by passing a modest property tax relief bill and adopting a ban on an abortion method.
» OPS begins the 2020-21 school year. The district, unlike most other districts in the metro area, starts the year remotely.
» The Nebraska State Fair begins, but with no carnival and fewer food stands.
» All housing units at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln go under quarantine after mass testing found 29 inmates with COVID-19.
» Four sororities and one fraternity at UNL are in quarantine because of the coronavirus.
» UNL proposes cutting $18.9 million in faculty and staff positions over three years.
» UNL suspends six Greek chapters after large gatherings at some Greek houses violate local health directives and university policy.
» Gov. Pete Ricketts announced steps Wednesday that should allow a return to near normal across most of Nebraska.
» Statewide, 37,841 cases and 434 deaths have been reported. Douglas County has the highest number of positive cases at 1,146.
Videos: Life in Nebraska amid the pandemic
Nebraskans have shown a wealth of emotions while facing the coronavirus pandemic. We have unleashed a wave of creativity to adapt in the world of social distancing.
Watch a few bright moments our staff has collected while telling the story of this unprecedented period in history.
A mariachi band performs for healthcare workers outside OneWorld Community Health Center in Omaha on Friday, May 8, 2020. The clinic has been …
The American Muslim Institute, would usually host a dinner for hundreds in the Omaha Muslim community, but such large gatherings are impossibl…
A group of Omaha area inventors are using their 3D printers to help make face shields for health care workers.
Nite Owl has been writing personal notes to customers and offering specials, like the Social Distance Daiquiri, while offering curbside take-o…
Teresa Elliott is surprised by her family on her final day of breast cancer radiation treatment outside her home in Omaha on Thursday, March 2…
Nebraska churches have been adapting to social distancing regulations by having online services from buildings void of parishioners.
The Nebraska Humane Society is holding a sale on adoption fees that will extend until further notice, as they try to get as many animals into …
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