The Nebraska National Guard will be deployed to Grand Island this week to set up a temporary coronavirus testing tent.

The Grand Island medical community, Mayor Roger Steele and Central District Health Department Director Teresa Anderson have said a two-week stay-at-home order could help the area get a handle on its current outbreak.

At a press conference Monday, Anderson said Gov. Pete Ricketts doesn’t favor that approach.

“He doesn’t think it’s the right time to do that, so that’s his responsibility,” she said. “Regardless, we all can still take that same type of action without being told to.”

Additional state resources are flowing to the central Nebraska area with a growing number of coronavirus cases. The state will provide more staff to track down those who came into contact with infected people, work with Grand Island employers on quarantining sick workers and communicate to the public the need to stay home and practice social distancing.

The state support comes as the local hospital gears up to treat more COVID-19 patients. It has set up a special respiratory care unit in a tent outside the emergency room.

Taylor Gage, a spokesman for Ricketts, said local officials didn’t specifically ask for a stay-at-home order during a Sunday conference call with the governor, “but we will take more restrictive steps if necessary.”

At a White House press briefing Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is advising President Donald Trump on the pandemic, said Nebraska and Iowa are doing the functional equivalent of other states’ stay-at-home orders.

One key difference is that stay-at-home, or shelter-in-place, orders mandate that people remain home, with exceptions for certain essential activities or jobs.

Ricketts, in consultation with health advisers, has resisted calls to impose a sweeping, statewide stay-at-home measure like those issued in a majority of other states. He has argued that Nebraska took early measures to contain the virus and has so far not seen anywhere near the spread of larger states like New York and California.

Testing in Nebraska, as in other states, has lagged, which may mask the true number of people infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Directed health measures ordered by Ricketts and Anderson have closed salons and dine-in areas at restaurants in Hall, Hamilton and Merrick Counties and the rest of the state. The Grand Island mayor closed the parks. Groups must be limited to 10 people, although Steele said Monday that he recommended avoiding gatherings altogether.

But only Ricketts has the authority to order stricter measures, Steele said.

The mayor said he also can’t shut down large employers with workers who have tested positive, like the JBS USA beef plant, because food production facilities are considered essential by the federal government.

Ricketts said Monday that he has talked to JBS executives but called meatpacking a critical industry needed to feed America right now.

Darcy Tromanhauser and Gloria Sarmiento of Nebraska Appleseed said meat and food processing facilities need to do more than check workers’ temperatures and encourage employees to spread out at lunch.

Workers should be spaced out on the production line, even if shift times need to be staggered; given masks; and have access to paid sick leave, they said.

“Some people, they don’t want to go to work, but they say, ‘We need to feed our kids and family,’ ” said Sarmiento, a senior community educator and organizer who has talked to meat and poultry workers or affiliated groups in eight Nebraska communities, including Grand Island.

Some companies, like Cargill, say they’re already taking those steps to protect workers and keep production facilities open.

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A jungle gym at Pier Park in Grand Island is wrapped in caution tape. The mayor has closed the city's parks.

Hall County, where Grand Island is, has emerged as one of the coronavirus epicenters in Nebraska.

The county ranks second in known positive cases, behind the far more populous Douglas County. A letter signed by 45 doctors and published in The World-Herald over the weekend begged for more testing and other action.

The Central District Health Department counted 68 coronavirus cases Monday, with 62 in Hall County. That includes 13 workers at the beef plant.

In nearby Adams County, a child who has been in contact with one of those workers tested positive over the weekend.

“There is a dangerous, in fact deadly, virus loose in our community,” Steele said. “I need you all to do the right thing and practice social distancing.”

Anderson said more information will be released this week on the new testing site, including hours and who can get tested there.

“This is an opportunity for us to actually determine the number of cases we have,” she said.

National Guard members helped test 162 residents and staffers at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center-Kearney last weekend. Two staffers at the state facility have tested positive so far.

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A room is set up for respiratory care at St. Francis hospital in Grand Island. The hospital has set up a respiratory care tent as it prepares for a surge of COVID-19 cases.

St. Francis hospital in Grand Island, part of the CHI Health system, has treated COVID-19 patients, including in its intensive care unit. Some have been put on ventilators, including one patient who recovered enough to be removed from breathing support, said the hospital’s president, Edward Hannon.

“The majority of patients are recovering at home and staying at home,” he said. “This isn’t necessarily a fatal disease. People can recover very well.”

The hospital recently procured three more ventilators from the CHI Health network and now has 14 ventilators between the ICU and the neonatal intensive care unit, plus several anesthesia and CPAP machines.

The hospital could add 28 beds, expanding to a capacity of 157 beds, to care for additional patients. Every person entering the hospital — doctors, nurses, plumbers — is first screened for symptoms.

Health care workers at the Grand Island Clinic and three local long-term care facilities have tested positive for the coronavirus, but Hannon declined to say whether anyone at St. Francis has.

CHI Health is also translating COVID-19 materials into different languages, such as Spanish and Arabic, and is expecting to put up billboards around town with tips to combat the spread.

Anderson has warned residents that local case numbers could keep climbing for the next two months, especially as more people get tested.

“How bad this actually gets depends on you and the steps you take today and every day for the next at least eight weeks,” she said. “So we ask your cooperation, and we thank you in advance for staying home.”

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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Shirley Blessing, 82, holds up a sign she made with artwork her grandchildren sent her. Her family has to visit from outside the windows as a …

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Shirley Blessing, 82, talks to her family on the phone as they stand outside her room at Hillcrest Country Estates Cottages in Papillion on We…

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A display features messages of thanks, superheroes, balloons and a stethoscope at Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy on Monday.

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A sign says "NE Med Strong" is in the window of the Lauritzen Outpatient Center as Nebraska Medicine works to fight the coronavirus pandemic o…

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Workers set up surge tents Monday at the Nebraska Medical Center to deal with a possible surge of patients with the coronavirus.

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Pettit's Pastry has been successful in part because of the close proximity to downtown Omaha. With many businesses now with employees working …

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Pettit's Pastry has seen a decrease in customers like many businesses as measures to control the spread of coronavirus have limited sales.

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Cecilia Saavedra, 26, buys groceries for a family at Supermercado Nuestra Familia on Wednesday. She devotes hours to shopping and delivering g…

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College of St Mary professor Kristin Haas, right, enjoys a virtual happy hour using Zoom at her Omaha home on Wednesday. Her daughter Kiera, 8…

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Bikers ride down the hill at Holmes Lake on Monday in Lincoln. With temperatures reaching the high 60s, many took the time to go outside. Seve…

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Mike Wooten carries a wooden cross around Holmes Lake on Monday in Lincoln. "I'm just trying to give people hope in these times, the cross has…

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Tierney West, a medical assistant, takes off her N95 mask after meeting with patients at an appointment-only COVID-19 drive-thru testing site …

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Physician assistant Emily Struebing talks with a patient at her testing site. “There’s a lot of reassurance and hand-holding that goes into it…

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A sign hangs outside the 2nd street market on Monday in Dodge, Nebraska. Many small towns are now dealing with the impacts of coronavirus. 

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A Washington School sign reads 'Nebraska Strong' on in Fremont, Nebraska.

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Nite Owl has been writing personal notes to customers and offering specials, like the Social Distance Daiquiri, while offering curbside takeou…

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Rita Otis leads her neighbors in an outdoor tai chi class on a grass island at Glenwood Road and Sunset Trail on Wednesday. She said anyone is…

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Rita Otis leads an outdoor tai chi class on Wednesday in Omaha. She has been teaching tai chi for about 20 years.

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The Easter Bunny waves to families as they drive by at the Hy-Vee near 144th and Stony Brook Blvd. in Omaha on Saturday. The grocery store usu…

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People wearing masks stand in the parking garage next to the Health & Kinesiology Building on UNO's campus on Monday. Testing for the coro…

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Traffic signs on Dodge Street, near 168th, display self quarantine guideline suggestions on Monday in Omaha.

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About 100 people line up outside Brickway Brewery & Distillery in Omaha on Monday. The Old Market business is giving away free hand saniti…

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Don Rupp of Bellevue wears a face mask made by his wife while waiting in line outside Brickway Brewery & Distillery in Omaha on Monday. Th…

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About 100 people line up outside Brickway Brewery & Distillery in Omaha on Monday. The Old Market business is giving away free hand saniti…

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Lights from the Kroc Center, which the Salvation Army lit up on Monday night to boost the community's spirit as it faces the coronavirus.

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The Kroc Center in South Omaha is illuminated as a symbol of hope. It will be lit through at least the end of April.

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Rod Kestel, left, and Tommy Sullivan, both of Omaha, put together Seder-To-Go kits at Chabad House in Omaha. About 300 online orders had been …

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Junior Garrett shoots over his brother Elijah Garrett while their sister Camila steadies the basket in Grand Island.

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Russell Hatt smokes a cigarette in his pickup truck outside Fonner Park on Monday in Grand Island. "I'm a widower, so this is what I do to sta…

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Lights from the Kroc Center, which the Salvation Army lit up on Monday night to boost the community's spirit as it faces the coronavirus.

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Leah Hanson and others visit their grandmother from outside the Douglas County Health Center in Omaha on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Two residents…

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A message written in chalk on a wall along Martha Street in Omaha on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

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Emily Struebing, a physician assistant, performs a nasal swab at an appointment-only COVID-19 drive-thru testing site in Omaha.

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