Happy New Year! Welcome 2021! There are numerous quotes about the New Year bringing the first blank page of an unwritten chapter or book. The message is one of resounding hope-hope that some things will be left behind and hope that better things lie ahead. There is hope on both fronts as we enter 2021 together. COVID-19 is not yet behind us, but a vaccine is approved and beginning to arrive. Businesses that have struggled to survive are hopeful that customers will be comfortable to return and that their businesses will once again thrive. Meanwhile, a new relief bill that may provide some assistance to individuals, families, and businesses on the way has passed and been signed by the President. Each of us chooses how we will view the future and the level of hope in our homes. I choose to be grateful and full of hope for those who are going into 2021 with me—my family and friends, my colleagues, and you. I wish you the best that 2021 can bring as we remain NebraskaStrong together!
COVID-19 State Response Update.
Effective December 24, 2020, less restrictive measures are required in 92 of the 93 counties in Nebraska. Based upon the hospital bed availability and staffing numbers, the Governor announced new Directed Health Measures (DHM). The new measures allow gatherings up to 75% of the maximum capacity of indoor spaces and recommend, but don’t require, that people be seated in groups of eight or fewer at restaurants, bars, weddings, funeral receptions and other venues.
They also recommend, but don’t require, that bar and restaurant patrons remain seated unless ordering food, using the restroom or playing games, and that staff and customers wear masks in salons, barbershops and other businesses where they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance. Elective surgeries are allowed without restriction.
Vaccinations are taking place.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna. Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been supportive of the development and preparing for distribution of the vaccine whenever it gets to the State. We are beginning to see Pfizer vaccine in the State and the Division of Public Health is working to make certain that the distribution plan is executed quickly so that Nebraskans can returned to a life of normalcy as quickly as possible. As of December 21, 2020, DHHS reported that 9,958 healthcare and emergency management professionals in the state had been vaccinated across 29 facilities in the State. By Wednesday, December 23, that number was u to 15,462. Over this week, the department expects to receive 11,700 doses of vaccine from Pfizer and 32,400 from Moderna and around 86,000 doses by the end of the year. Beginning December 28, 100% of the Pfizer allocation will be reserved and used to support efforts in long-term care facilities and the Moderna allocation will go to 112 facilities including local health departments, federally qualified health centers, and hospital systems throughout Nebraska. For more information about the planned vaccine distribution and details, please visit the NDHHS web page at dhhs.ne.gov/COVID-19-Vaccine-Information.
COVID-19 numbers in District 17
The number of positive tests reported for the periods December 19, 2020, and December 24, 2020 in District 17 are as follow:
Dakota County +40 (3533)
Thurston County: +51 (875)
Wayne County: +18 (922)
Wayne State College News.
Did you know that Wayne State College has a new Shotgun Sports Team? Well it does! In November, I was fortunate to stop in and visit with the faculty advisor for the club and one of its founding members Hayley Long. The club was founded this past year by Hayley, a first-year student, and a group of friends interested in the sport. The club already has 17 members who work together to pick up new skills and sharpen the skills they already have in place. The Sports team is a part of the Prairie Circuit Conference and student members compete in trap, skeet, and sporting clay events against teams from Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, and Kansas. Local competition for the team can be found at Midland, Doane, and Concordia Colleges. The majority of student members of the Wayne State team come from Nebraska, with one student member from Missouri. The students are enrolled in a variety of disciplines including criminal justice, science education, pre-chiropractic, conservation biology, manufacturing management, Members are required to have a Hunters Education Certificate, or equivalent certification, and must attend a Shotgun Safety and Range Etiquette class each semester before participating. “As the team is getting started and established, they could use some help,” stated Hayley, “They especially need sporting devices and ammo.” Currently without a coach, he team is also looking for volunteers that are very familiar with the three shooting disciplines at the competition level to offer advice or help in any way possible. If you know a business or individual interested in sponsoring or providing advice and experience to this new endeavor at Wayne State College, please feel free to contact club president Hayley Long at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing more from Hayley and the Wayne State College Shotgun Sports team as the members strive to show the excellence we all know Nebraska’s students work to achieve!
As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.