A Nebraska doctor was writing a history of nightmare pandemics. Then she lived one. - “Mom’s home! Look away, look away!”  This was how I greeted my kids during the first half of the COVID-19 pandemic after an internal medicine clinic shift at Nebraska Medicine. I’d shed my doctor scrubs in the laundry room, start the washer, and dash upstairs in my underwear while my kids shielded their eyes for […]
‘It’s Just a Nightmare.’ High Schoolers Reflect as They Continue Pandemic Learning - This story was originally published in El Perico on Sept. 20, 2021. Sometimes it’s hard for Marasia Harris to believe she’s just begun her sophomore year at Central High School. After all, she never really got to finish eighth grade. “I didn’t fully realize I was out of middle school until after I’d already started […]
Nebraska Doctors Despondent as Preventable COVID Wave Slams State - This story originally appeared in The Flatwater Free Press. Mark Rupp has grown numb to people telling him he’s wrong, yelling that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, when he encourages them to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “I have certainly experienced plenty of that,” he says dryly. This is Dr. Mark Rupp, Chief of […]
Need-to-Know Delta Variant Info for This School Year - This story originally appeared in El-Perico. It has been updated to reflect the changing school district policies on masking. A significant rise in coronavirus cases due to the highly infectious delta variant has raised concerns for the safety of Omaha children returning to in-person school in the coming weeks. Here’s what you need to know […]
Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Data Disappears as Delta Variant Surges, Health Officials Again Call for Help - Things were going well. Vaccinations were rising, new COVID-19 cases were declining and life started to feel normal. Fans crowded Omaha for the College World Series, the Old Market teemed with life on hot weekend nights. Gov. Pete Ricketts ended Nebraska’s state of emergency on Wednesday, June 30, closing the state’s online coronavirus dashboard, a […]
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics - In order to increase accessibility, Douglas County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 vaccinations at a various locations from Hy-Vee pharmacies to public schools.
The New Normal of Grieving - When Matt Brewer, manager and funeral director at Bethany Funeral Home in La Vista, thinks back to the early days of the pandemic, the uncertainty is what stands out. “It was such an unknown with the virus,” he said. “There was a lot of confusion and a lot of nervousness and fear, but we still […]
Last Responders Comfort Others, While Managing Their Own Grief - When Tom Belford’s mother died in May, her family was faced with the impossible task of limiting her funeral to 10 people. Belford, who is the owner and funeral director of John. A Gentleman Mortuaries and Crematory, recalled the difficult months leading up to his mother’s death. “From March until May nobody was allowed in […]
A Year in The Pandemic - It happened all at once. One second we were working in offices, walking through crowded grocery stores or picking up our kids from daycare. Then social media exploded. News stories about a novel coronavirus that first appeared in China began to paint a less abstract picture. Everything shut down and we started asking how long […]
Four funeral directors. One month. 60 deaths. - When COVID-19 hit Omaha, businesses scrambled to do whatever they could to keep their staff and clients safe. Many shops, restaurants and bars closed their doors entirely for the first few months of the pandemic to enable workers to quarantine. Other companies sent staff to work from home in droves as the pandemic ravaged cities […]
Minorities and Women Continue Bearing Brunt of Unemployment - In Douglas County, women continue to file more claims for unemployment benefits than men. At the same time, some minority residents in the county continue filing more unemployment claims for their share of the population. At the end of December, 34 out every 1,000 Black Douglas County residents were asking the state for help after […]
The High Price of Meat - En español – ElPerico.com The workers told stories of wet masks splotched with blood. One woman said she asked a supervisor to use the bathroom because she’d had her period. He wiped his hand through the blood of a slaughtered animal to mock her. At night, some struggled to hold a comb or toothbrush in […]
How to Register for The COVID-19 Vaccine in Nebraska - As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to move slower than expected nationwide, Nebraska wants its residents to prepare for their turn to take the shot. People can go to the newly launched vaccine portal to fill out their name, address and some basic details that would place them in line to get immunized. Unless the […]
COVID Galvanizes More To Plan Ahead - Death is tough enough anytime. Dealing with a pandemic that compromises how people gather before and after loss is especially cruel. Then there’s the stark reality of COVID-19 fatalities straining hospital and morgue capacities in some cities. Unchanged is the red-tape bureaucracy of death. The unpleasantness of these cold, hard facts is leavened by tributes […]
Adi Pour on Vaccines, COVID-19 and Outlasting The Pandemic - As COVID-19 vaccines become available, while cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus continue, health officials are trying a new approach to educate people on the pandemic. The statewide “Do Right, Right Now” campaign evolved out of a Douglas County initiative to bring different health care providers, media and community leaders together on a single […]
Gov. Ricketts Defends Delaying Vaccines to Undocumented Nebraskans - When COVID-19 ripped through meatpacking plants in the spring, it put Nebraska on the map as one of the top hot spots for the virus. Despite calls from advocates, Gov. Pete Ricketts said he didn’t want to shut down the plants where workers, who kept supply chains moving by breaking down chicken, beef and other […]
Nebraska COVID-19 Vaccine Data - This data is no longer regularly updated as of June 7, 2021. After developing vaccines at a record breaking pace, the world is finally seeing a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. But herd immunization, roughly 60-70% of the population, likely won’t occur until later in 2021. For right now states across the […]
To The Bitter End, Douglas County Wraps $166 Million CARES Allocation Process - By Chris Bowling When Douglas County received $166 million to stymie the economic affects of COVID-19, it was clear immediately that it was going to strain the system. “What [County Administrator] Patrick [Bloomingdale] and I always say is this [CARES Act money] is a blessing and a curse,” County Finance Director Joe Lorenz told The […]
Not Even Death Escapes COVID’s Disruption - The harsh reality of pandemic-restricted gatherings has cut attendance by about half from pre-COVID 19 services at Jon Reichmuth’s Funeral Homes in Elkhorn, Yutan and Bennington.   This is by far the biggest instant change they’ve ever had to deal with, said Reichmuth, a 44-year tenured funeral director. “One day it was here and we had to figure out how to […]
‘The Wolf Is in The House’: Health Care Workers Beg to Be Heard as COVID Crisis Continues - This article was originally published as a three-part series. Read the first in the series here. By Chris Bowling If the patient’s lucky, they’ll have a window in their hospital room. Maybe it will be open so they can feel the chill of fall in Omaha, see the falling leaves blow toward Leavenworth Street. If […]