Ricketts announces more test sites, proclaims 'EMS Week' in state

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat

At his daily press briefing May 18, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that COVID-19 testing will come to several new communities this week.  Test Nebraska will continue in Lincoln and Omaha, and other Test Nebraska mobile sites will open in North Platte, Scottsbluff, Thedford, West Point, and Dakota City.  Additionally, the National Guard will conduct testing in David City, Fremont, Omaha, and Wahoo in conjunction with the State’s public health lab.

At Monday’s press conference, the Governor also designated May 17-23, 2020 as Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week in Nebraska.  Dr. James E. Smith, emergency medicine physician at Great Plains Health and chair of the State’s EMS Board, accepted the official proclamation on behalf of the state’s EMS professionals.

Gov. Ricketts: Six Rules Reminder

Throughout the month of May, we are reminding people to follow our Six Rules to Keep Nebraska Healthy.

Stay home.  Do not take unnecessary trips outside the home.  Respect the ten-person limit.

Socially distance your work.  Work from home or use the six-foot rule as much as possible in the workplace.

Shop alone and only shop once a week.  Do not take family with you.

Help kids follow social distancing.  Play at home.  No group sports and no playgrounds.

Help seniors stay at home by shopping for them.  Do not visit long-term care facilities.

Exercise daily at home or with an appropriately socially-distanced activity.

Gov. Ricketts: Test Nebraska

We continue to encourage people to take the TestNebraska.com assessment.

This week we are deploying testing in the following communities:

National Guard: Wahoo, Omaha, Fremont, and David City

National Guard with Test Nebraska: Omaha, Lincoln, North Platte, Scottsbluff, Thedford, West Point, and Dakota City.

Gov. Ricketts: EMS Week

Emergency rooms and Emergency Medical Services professionals across the state have been helping to deliver outstanding care throughout the pandemic.

I want to thank every professional and volunteer who is helping take care of people during this very difficult time.

They have some of the hardest jobs in the state.  They take care of people in tough situations when their health is on the line.

To honor their work, I am signing a proclamation declaring Emergency Medical Services Week in Nebraska.

Dr. Jim Smith: EMS Week

When Nebraskans call 9-1-1, a host of people spring into action to provide help.

A dispatcher quickly gathers critical information to determine which assets to deploy to the situation.

A law enforcement officer may be the first to arrive on the scene, rendering life-saving treatment such as CPR, defibrillation, or stopping active bleeding while EMS personnel are on the way.

EMS providers then arrive.  They may be first responders, EMTs, paramedics, or nurses.  Firefighters also assist in giving care while helping to extricate the victim.

The patient is then rapidly transported to an emergency department, while treatment is administered in a moving vehicle or in the back of a helicopter.

At the emergency department, hospital staff seek to treat and stabilize patients.  In some cases, EMS personnel must again transport critically injured patients to a higher level of care.

Dedicated maintenance personnel keep ambulances and aircrafts at a mission-ready status.  Drivers and pilots have the difficult task of providing timely and safe transportation.

Non-clinical staff in offices, hospitals, EMS bases, fire agencies, and government agencies give much-needed support to the system.

Training agencies work tirelessly to equip EMS staff to the best of their abilities.

At the end of the day, someone has to make the conscious decision to answer the call for help.  This call requires them to put their lives and well-being on the line.  This has been especially true during the pandemic.

Lastly, there’s always someone left behind—a spouse, child, parent, or friend—who watches their loved one walk out the door to answer the call and who prays for their safety.

Currently, the EMS community is supporting those affected by the crisis while also responding to the everyday emergencies that continue to occur.  During the pandemic, they’ve faced challenges such as limited personal protective equipment (PPE) or having teammates stricken by the virus.

Now more than ever, it is important that we honor and celebrate our EMS professionals as they support the health and wellbeing of our state and our nation.