LINCOLN — Nebraska is “well ahead of the curve” in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Pete Ricketts said Monday, while encouraging Nebraskans to continue to practice “social distancing” and other preventative measures.

“We have a plan, we’re working our plan and will continue to work our plan,” Ricketts said at his daily update with news media at the State Capitol.

As of Monday afternoon, a World-Herald tally shows Nebraska has confirmed 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

The governor said Nebraska’s plan of attack against the virus was developed with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, which has national experts on pandemics, and that the spread of coronavirus in Nebraska has been slower as opposed to states like New York.

The state’s plan, he said, does not include shelter in place orders, like those placed on residents of California, Illinois and other states, and restrictions should get no worse than those imposed in the Omaha area, which have led to the closure of sit-down restaurants and bars.

Still, Ricketts would not predict when things might get back to normal.

“I know we’re going to get back to normal at some point. I can’t tell you when,” the governor said, adding that slowing the spread of the coronavirus will prolong the period of restrictions.

In the Omaha area, the public health directive ordered there will be reviewed on April 30. It was sparked after two cases of “community spread” coronavirus — in which contact with the virus could not be traced to travel or contact with infected people — were found in Douglas County, which has 35 of the state’s 53 known cases.

Among comments made by Ricketts and his administration on Monday:

  • The filing, and payment, deadline for state income taxes has been extended from April 15 to July 15, which mirrors the change made for federal taxes.

But Ricketts urged Nebraskans not affected by the coronavirus to file by April 15. Waiting until July would delay tax collections, costing the state up to $385 million in tax revenue for the current fiscal year, he said. That lack of cash could complicate a response to the coronavirus.

“I will be filing by April 15 and I’ve asked my staff to file by April 15,” Rickett said.

  • He apologized because the state had not updated its website for filing for unemployment insurance benefits with virus-related waivers by last weekend. That confused and frustrated some filers who got the message that their claim had been “denied.” Ricketts said Monday that the fixes have now been made and that if someone got a “denial” message, it would be corrected by the state.

Last week, Ricketts ordered that some unemployment insurance rules be waived, including requirements that a person actively look for another job and that a person wait a week before getting their initial benefits.

  • Calls are inundating the state’s phone banks to handle unemployment insurance applications, officials said, leading to long wait times. The state has expanded the number of people taking calls from 34 to 66. The hours for taking such calls also will be increased from the current end time of 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • There is no truth to a rumor, circulating over the weekend, that the National Guard is being mobilized and martial law will be imposed. Not true, Ricketts said.
  • A Nebraska-based ethanol firm, Green Plains Energy, is donating several hundred gallons of industrial alcohol to the state, which will be turned into hand sanitizer by inmates in Nebraska prisons. The sanitizer will be used in state prisons and other state agencies.
  • Some state workers are being paid to stay home and be “on call” for work in state agencies as an added step to prevent the virus from spreading and as a way to ensure their “income security.” Ricketts urged private employers to consider a similar arrangement as a way to retain employees in the state’s tight job market.

“If you’re an employer and thinking long term, I’d be looking at any way to maintain my workforce,” he said.

  • The governor said he is still looking at whether to issue a moratorium on eviction notices. Meanwhile, he urged landlords, on a voluntary basis, to not kick someone out of a rental apartment or home. “This is a public health emergency,” Ricketts said.
  • The state’s coronavirus testing capacity is in the process of being expanded, but still stands at a capacity of 200 a day at two public testing labs, Ricketts said. He said that widespread testing was not envisioned in the virus response plan he devised with the Nebraska Medical Center. But, he added, when more tests are available, the priority will be testing first responders, nursing home employees and health care workers so they can remain on the job.
  • Compliance with social-distancing recommendations has been much higher than anticipated. Initially, the state’s virus response plans were predicated on only a 30% compliance rate for things like avoiding public gatherings of more than 10 people and keeping a 6-foot distance from one another, according to Ricketts.

“Nebraskans from all over the state have stepped up to that challenge,” he said.

Photos: Coronavirus affects Nebraska

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A woman exits the St. Thomas Aquinas Church at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Tuesday. Although masses are canceled because of coronavi…

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Bourbon general manager Aaron Galvan puts up a sign to encourage people on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Lincoln. "Someone will probably think t…

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A note grace the front of Yia-Yia's Pizza on St. Patrick's Day on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Lincoln. Several bars and restaurants in Nebrask…

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Douglas County District Judge Horacio Wheelock "appears" in his courtroom using Skype on Tuesday. He recently traveled to Europe and, though h…

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A group of co-workers dines in a room by themselves at the Brazen Head Irish Pub in Omaha on St. Patrick's Day. The restaurant and bar was hav…

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Gary Hylen, of Omaha, eats a plate of corned beef and cabbage at the Brazen Head Irish Pub in Omaha on St. Patrick's Day, Tuesday, March 17, 2…

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Dodge Street looking west in Omaha on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Schools in the area have closed indefinitely and many businesses are encouragin…

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Classes have been canceled March 16-20, extending spring break by a week for the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Classes are expected to move…

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Workers prepare meals to be distributed at Westside Middle School on Monday. The meals were meant to replace the food that kids would be getti…

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Kristen Lightfoot leaves Gilder Elementary School on Monday morning after meeting with Principal Cassie Schmidt, who is in the doorway. Lightf…

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Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets holds a press conference with the Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt, center right, a…

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Parking spots were open for blocks in the Old Market on Monday as fears about the coronavirus kept people home.

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Parking spots were open for blocks looking north on 14th Street from Douglas Street in the Old Market on Monday, March 16, 2020. Fears about t…

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Parking spots were open for blocks looking west on Harney Street from 10th Street in the Old Market on Monday, March 16, 2020. Fears about the…

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Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets holds a press conference with the Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt, center, and Neb…

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Paper shamrocks are put in a window near 45th and Hickory Streets on Monday. The social media idea is for kids stuck at home because of the co…

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The Auburn fan section got creative in their state championship with Ogallala during the Nebraska state basketball tournament. Crowds were lim…

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Wahoo's Trey Scheef attempts a three-point basket in front of Elkhorn Mount Michael's Bradley Bennett during the first day of the state high s…

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Tammy Hancock and Jaxson, left and Griffin, right, check with Wahoo administrator Marc Kaminski to see if they are the list to attend the firs…

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A woman cleans a walkway near the Anderson Complex on the campus of Midland University on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. The campus is currently clo…

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A local woman with coronavirus disease was brought to the University of Nebraska Medical Center campus Friday night to be treated in the Nebra…

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Officials help passengers off a plane at Omaha's Eppley Airfield into waiting vehicles from Nebraska Medicine.

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Paddy McGown's Pub and Grill located at 4503 Center Street, was did not have the normal crowd it would on Saint Patrick's Day because of coron…

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Emily Moody plays tag with her daughter Janie, 5, as their miniature golden doodle, Wrigley, joins them for "recess" in the family's yard on W…

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Lydia Moody, 9, shows off the family schedule for the week. The family has a daily schedule to help navigate as they stay home amid the corona…

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The wall of a classroom at 88 Tactical is painted with diagrams of various handguns on Wednesday. Gun and ammunition sales are on the rise ami…

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Instructor Bryan Breitkreutz, center, teaches a handgun level 1 class on Wednesday at 88 Tactical in Omaha. 

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Union Pacific employees take part in a digital meeting Wednesday in Omaha. It’s one of the measures the company is using to prevent the spread…

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Tessa Keeran watches as children prepare to eat lunch at Through The Years Child Care. The child care facility makes sure to space the kids ou…

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Tessa Keeran makes sure Laylah Lee washes her hands correctly before lunch at Through the Years Child Care.

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Cassondra June delivers a lunch order to a patrons car Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at Porky Butts. The bbq joint is adapting to new coronavirus…

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Katarina Gleisberg does mindfulness exercise at Memorial Park in the rain on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

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Chloe Corbett and Samuel Stevens stand behind a piece of tape six feet from Chris Stungis, a records clerk, while picking up their marriage li…

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Chris Stungis, a records clerk, steps back six feet as Chloe Corbett and Samuel Stevens come to the counter to verify information on their mar…

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Hannah Holguin, a math teacher at Omaha South High School, readies sack lunches outside the State Farm near 30th and L St. in Omaha on Thursda…

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Ashlyn Franks, 7, of Omaha, carries a sign so people know where to stop for a free lunch outside the State Farm near 30th and L St. in Omaha o…

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Samii Robey, with the UNO Outdoor Adventure Center, pressure washes the holds for the rock-climbing wall at UNO on Thursday, March 19, 2020. T…

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A Tabitha employee waves to a group of volunteers outside as they cheer with supporting messages during a shift change on Thursday, March 19, …

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Volunteers, from left, Emily Schweitzer, Tess Kurtenbach, Jennifer Kimmons and Maryann Castillo cheer with supporting messages to healthcare w…

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Madeleine Morelli, left, sets up a phone to record her husband, Creighton medical student John Morelli, right, when he opens his match day let…

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Creighton medical student John Morelli talks to friends and family on several video chats as he prepares to open his match day envelope at his…

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Emma Lepert, the event planner, brings out a to-go order to a person waiting in a car at Anthony's Steakhouse in Omaha on Friday, March 20, 20…

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Courtney Tatum, the assistant manager, draws a yard sign to let customer know they have takeout and delivery available at Anthony's Steakhouse…

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McKayla Olsen, the assistant general manager, prepares a sake bomb kit for a takeout order at Butterfish in Omaha on Friday, March 20, 2020. N…

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Senior Pastor Olaf Roynesdal makes opening remarks to a mostly empty Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church on Sunday in Omaha. The church conducted…

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Rows of pews sit empty at Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church on Sunday in Omaha. The church conducted services via online streaming as people co…

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Jaeger, a German shepherd mix puppy, watches Ed Snawerdt, of Omaha, from the front seat of his adoptive family's van outside the Nebraska Huma…

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Steven Morris and Dani Alderson, of Omaha, pet Morty before adopting him. The Nebraska Humane Society is holding a sale on adoption fees that …

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A man walks the empty hallways at the Nebraska State Capitol on Monday in Lincoln. Lawmakers were allowed to watch the session from their offi…

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A legislative page places a piece of paper page outlining Gov. Pete Ricketts key points for emergency funding on a desk at the State Capitol o…

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Sen. Mark Kolterman, right, greets Sen. Tony Vargas with an elbow touch Monday.

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A man sits alone in a cafeteria area at Eppley Airfield in Omaha on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Air travel is down as the COVID-19 pandemic sprea…

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A single traveler walks through Eppley Airfield in Omaha on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Air travel is down as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads aroun…

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Healthcare workers bump elbows before conducting drive-thru testing at Bryan LifePointe Campus on Tuesday in Lincoln.

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A woman wearing a mask carries belongings out of Carter Place, an assisted living facility in Blair, Nebraska on Wednesday. Two residents test…

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A child's drawing is taped to a window at Carter Place, an assisted living facility in Blair, Nebraska on Wednesday. Two residents tested posi…

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Keith Binder poses for a portrait in the Benson neighborhood where he worked as a bartender. Regulations put in place to slow the spread of th…

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A man walks past an empty barber shop near P street on Thursday in Lincoln. Captain's Chair closed down in compliance with the new restrictions.

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Katherine Bergstrom plays with Charlie the cat near a safety table in A Novel Idea Bookstore on Thursday in Lincoln. All customers who enter t…

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Curbside pickup locations appeared around downtown Lincoln to assist in social distancing on Thursday.

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Opie plays with a tennis ball as Mikala Hansen teaches her Millard West High School freshman biology class. Schools are adjusting to remote le…

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Millard West High School's Mikala Hansen teaches her freshman biology class through Zoom from her Omaha home on Thursday.

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Millard West teacher Mikala Hansen's dog Opie would rather she play fetch than teach her freshman biology class. Hansen hopes that her dogs do…

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Brandi Udell, and her children, from left, Jazzlen 4; Kolten, 5; and Kaiden, 9; wave to teachers from LeMay Elementary School on Friday. 

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Beth Dawson, right, from LeMay Elementary School and and her son Carter Dawson, are among a group of teachers that drive around neighborhoods …

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Teresa Elliott and her family take a group photo while trying to stay six feet away from each other on her final day of breast cancer radiatio…

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From left, Nancy Toner, Cathy Kruse, Rosie Matz and Toni Schroeder — 6 feet apart with hand-sewn face masks due to the coronavirus — surprise …

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Giant letters spell "hope" in a yard in 13th Street just north of U Street on Thursday in Omaha. 

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Giant letters spell "hope" in a yard in 13th Street just north of U Street on Thursday in Omaha. 

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