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Nebraska 'working on creative solutions' to allow visits to long-term care facilities

Nebraska 'working on creative solutions' to allow visits to long-term care facilities

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Leah Hanson and others visit their grandmother from outside the Douglas County Health Center in Omaha in April.

Nebraska is working with long-term care facilities to allow loved ones to visit residents.

Gov. Pete Ricketts, who participated in an NET town hall on the coronavirus Thursday evening, said the state has sent nursing homes a “template” to review.

“This is a tough issue for families,” he said. “We know that for the health and well-being of residents, we need to start figuring that out.”

Ricketts said he and other governors discussed the issue during a call Thursday, noting that some of those governors haven’t been able to visit their loved ones in facilities, either.

“We’re working on creative solutions to be able to do this,” he said.

Also during the town hall, an infectious disease expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center said he was optimistic that society will beat back, through “good science,” the coronavirus.

“I’m not hopeful — I’m certain we’re going to win,” Dr. Andre Kalil said. “But how long is it going to take? No one can say with any certainty.”

Eight to 10 promising vaccines are being studied, and the treatment drug, remdesivir, has shown that it can reduce the length of hospital stays, he said.

In the meantime, he and Ricketts said it’s important that people wash their hands frequently, social distance and wear masks.

Ricketts said a mask requirement wasn’t incorporated into the loosened restrictions on gatherings because he didn’t want to see people getting misdemeanor citations for forgetting a mask.

Kalil said outbreaks will worsen if people don’t pitch in.

“I can guarantee you the governor will have to do something more dramatic (later this year),” he said. “There is only one way to do this, and that is to do the right thing.”

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Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Email:

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