Governor Ricketts releases DHM’s to reflect new CDC guidelines

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 9:02 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - On Thursday, Governor Ricketts released new DHM’s to reflect the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s new quarantine guidelines, and the Central District Department has some reservations on the change.

“Before we could follow people along and find out when they had their negative test or their positive test. Now it’s going to be more difficult because those tests are very slow incoming,” CDHD Director Teresa Anderson said. “We’re going to have people who go their five days, get their test, get their results, and then they’re back in the community at seven days but we won’t see those test results for maybe three, four days after that.”

With the new guidelines, people will have the option to isolate for a shorter quarantine period.

“Regardless of whether you do seven days or ten days you will want to self monitor for up to 14 days, because there is a 1 to 5% chance that you could still become positive within the 14-day period,” Anderson said.

The CDC believes 14 days is still the most effective way to combat the virus, but this new method gives people less time to disrupt their livelihoods.

“If they’re home on quarantine for 14-days in about 7 or 8 then they develop the symptoms, then it’s another 10 days for the onset of symptoms. So it can be a long period of time and it can be a real hardship,” Anderson said.

The health department worries the change will cause a health disparity for people of color and the less fortunate.

“If they don’t have a medical home, they don’t have dollars to pay for a test, they don’t have transportation, or if there are cultural barriers or language barriers, all these things can provide lesser access for them to get the test that they need,”Anderson said.

The health department is working to add an extra day of free COVID-19 testing. They’ve also have partnered with the Multicultural Coalition in Grand Island to help bridge the gap.

“We have a grant, thanks to a partnership with Central District Health Department to bring multilingual health workers to assist minorities in accessing health solutions and meeting their basic needs,” said Multicultural Coalition Executive Director Audrey Lutz.

The program is expected to start December 15. The Multicultural Coalition will have the workers onsite to help people get testing, transportation, food, and other services.

“It’s really important to provide additional access to vulnerable populations, so that our communities overall are healthier and ultimately safer,” Lutz said.

People interested in the program or other services can call the Multicultural Coalition at (308) 385-5242 to make an appointment from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday to Friday.

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