LINCOLN – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) continues to identify significant numbers of COVID-19 infections in people who recently traveled to other areas of the U.S. or internationally, with spread to other Nebraskans. Data shows over 80% of confirmed cases in the state are either travel related or close contacts of someone who recently traveled.
“Returning travelers pose a serious risk of accelerating the spread of COVID-19 in our state,” said Dr. Gary Anthone, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS. “We are asking Nebraskans to limit unnecessary travel and any returning travelers should assume that COVID-19 is present at the locations they have visited and traveled through and follow DHHS travel recommendations.”
Returning international travelers from regions with widespread sustained transmission should self-quarantine for 14 days following return.
Widespread local transmission is occurring in many regions of the U.S., and may be unrecognized and underreported due to limited testing. Returning travelers from regions of the U.S. with widespread transmission should self-quarantine for 14 days following return. Examples of these areas are Santa Clara County, CA; New York City, NY; and Seattle, WA. With continued widespread transmission across the U.S., these areas of widespread transmission may change over time.
Any returning traveler who develops fever or respiratory illness symptoms, should immediately self-isolate, and report to a healthcare provider if symptoms are severe or medical attention is needed (calling ahead, when possible). If symptoms are mild, follow home care guidance and guidance to discontinue self-isolation.
Every health care worker who returns from out-of-state travel (excluding commuters who are driving across state lines for work, for example – Omaha to Council Bluffs) should consult with a trained medical professional at their facility and establish a specific infection control protocol (like, PPE while at work, self-monitoring, or self-quarantine) that mitigates patient and co-worker exposures. Special considerations should be taken for those working with high-risk patients
Other out-of-state travelers (excluding commuters who are driving across state lines for work) returning from any other international or domestic locations, should limit public interactions, practice strict social distancing, self-monitor for symptoms, and self-quarantine for 14 days if feasible.
Discontinuation from self-quarantine and self-monitoring may cease if after 14 days there has been no development of respiratory illness symptoms, which may include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose.
CDC guidance states that an individual can stop self-isolation if it has been at least seven days since symptoms first appeared, no fever has been present for at least 72 hours without fever-reducing medicine, and all other symptoms have improved.
Social distancing: Minimize interactions in crowded spaces by working from home, closing schools/switching to online classes, cancelling/postponing conferences and large meetings, and keeping individuals spaced 6 feet apart.
Self-monitor: Monitor yourself for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, including cough, shortness of breath, fever, and fatigue. Persons with known exposure to COVID-19 infection are asked to check for symptoms including fever twice daily (e.g., 8 am and 8 pm). Persons with COVID-19 infection should document symptoms to enable accurate determination of duration of isolation (see above).
Self-quarantine: Persons with known exposure to a person with COVID-19 infection should remove themselves from situations where others could be exposed/infected should they develop infection, and self-monitor to identify if COVID-19 infection develops.
Self-isolate: Persons with clinical or lab-confirmed for COVID-19 infection should eliminate contact with others as detailed above.
Commuters crossing state borders (e.g., Council Bluffs to Omaha, Sioux City to South Sioux City, and Cheyenne to Scotts Bluff), travelers passing through the state/moving within the state, and transportation service workers are not considered special at-risk groups and are not addressed in these our-of-state returning traveler recommendations.