Monday, April 6

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Good morning,
As America prepares for what could be one of the pandemic’s hardest weeks, we have stories about new statewide health directives, drive-in Sunday services and voters responding in droves to request mail-in ballots.

Your top local stories

  • Over the weekend workers at a youth detention center in Kearney, as well as an employee of the state penitentiary in Lincoln, tested positive for Covid-19. Gov. Pete Ricketts said he’s not in favor of releasing some inmates, which several states, including Iowa, have done. This also comes as the Nebraska Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report March 20 identifying several issues in state prisons including lack of excess to healthcare services, especially mental health treatments.
In Omaha
  • Starting tomorrow, Creighton University will close its Omaha campus to everyone except a small list of “approved” students and “mission-critical” staff.
  • The Henry Doorly Zoo says its closure amid the spread of coronavirus will cost it about $6.7 million.
  • Police officers blocked access to Levi Carter Park Sunday to limit gatherings after hundreds reportedly gathered there last week.
  • Mayor Jean Stothert and other city officials said while many are obeying health directives, social media posts and other information indicate many are still gathering in large numbers, especially in city parks.
  • Area churches hosted their first drive-in services this weekend, allowing churchgoers to tune into sermons through the radio.
  • Omaha Symphony players are streaming their performances with #symphonyanywhere on Twitter and Instagram. Virtual lessons are also available on the Symphony’s YouTube page.
  • To stay active in uncertain times, one Ralston woman is sewing face masks for a nursing home.
Around the State
  • The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services expanded its health orders, including social distancing and limiting groups to 10 people, to all 93 counties on Sunday. Those orders last until May 11. 
  • Doctors in Grand Island are worried their area is becoming a hot spot for coronavirus contraction and urged the state to do more to help the community. The state has announced it will increase testing there.
  • Mail-in ballot requests are already nearly double the number of people who voted through the method in 2018 and 2016.
  • After the legislature closed to limit coronavirus spread, property tax reformers got extra time to rally senators around a bill that aims to solve one of the body’s longest and most charged issues. But it doesn’t seem like they’ve made progress.
  • Gov. Ricketts to hold daily press briefing at 2 p.m.

What to do during quarantine?

Keep up with the National Weather Service on social media

No, really. Between fog and warm weather advisories, you’ll find area stations for the National Weather Service tweeting out pictures showing their radar picking up everything from the movement of Sandhills to the smoke of grass fires.

What’s happening in the United States?

Prepare for a hard week, Surgeon General says

  • The week ahead will likely be the “hardest and saddest” for many Americans, said United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
    • “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized, it’s going to be happening all over the country and I want America to understand that.”

Death count grim, but probably undercounted

Stimulus package implementation off to rocky start

  • Small businesses report delays on loan approvals, unemployment benefit boosts have slowed as they’re interpreted and implemented by each state and stimulus checks may not arrive for some Americans until later this year.

What’s happening across the world?

Vaccine at least a year, but probably more, away

Check out more coverage online at

The Omaha Reader

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Omaha, NE 68107

Chris has worked for The Reader since January 2020. As an investigative reporter and news editor he’s taken deep dives into topics such as police transparency, affordable housing and COVID-19. Originally...

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