The flu is still circulating in the Omaha metro area, so it is reasonable for doctors to test for that before testing for COVID-19, Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour said.
The county has had more than 6,400 confirmed cases of flu, she said. Two children and nine adults have died from it, she said.
“Influenza is still serious, and it’s still going on in our community,” Pour said at a press conference Sunday evening. She noted that the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, are similar.
Omaha closes tennis courts, other rec areas
The following recreational facilities have been closed, Mayor Jean Stothert said: the Hanscom Park Tennis Center, Hummel Nature Center, Koch Family Tennis Center, Motto McLean Ice Arena, and Harry Koch Trap and Skeet Range. Indoor pools at the community centers also will be closed.
All of Omaha’s libraries and community centers are closed and will be deep-cleaned this week.
So far, there is no change in the summer camp schedules at Hummel, Hanscom, Zorinsky and Adams Parks. Those camps are in June and July.
Open Door Mission is barring volunteers but needs donations
The Open Door Mission will not be allowing outside events, classes, individuals or groups to volunteer until further notice. Professional volunteers will continue to serve in the Free Health and Healing Clinic.
Every dollar donated to Open Door through March 31 will be matched, President Candace Gregory said.
The mission is in urgent need of sanitizer, wipes, facial tissues, Lysol and similar supplies, she said.
Seniors should call Meals on Wheels
Stothert said the decision to close community centers was influenced by the fact that so many senior citizens use the facilities. They are at the greatest risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
But this closure means that hot meals will no longer be available for seniors at the Florence, Camelot, Adams and Montclair Community Centers. The meals are provided through the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. The Mayor’s Office said seniors should contact Meals on Wheels about home meal deliveries.
Philanthropic community studying needs in Omaha area
Omaha’s philanthropic community is studying how it can provide the most help to those in need.
Stothert said the philanthropic community “is very engaged” in looking at issues like food, rent and mortgages and other financial struggles people will face when they lose income.
For the time being, donations are being funneled through the Omaha Community Foundation.
“Anybody can go online right now and donate to that fund,” Stothert said.
Plans are underway to create a specific fund to tackle these issues, she said.
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County Treasurer will close lobbies to walk-in traffic
People needing to register vehicles, get a driver’s license or conduct other business with the Douglas County Treasurer’s Office can do so in person Tuesday, but after that the lobbies of the branches will be closed to walk-in traffic. From Wednesday on, people will need to conduct business with the Treasurer’s Office online, by mail or over the phone. For information, call the office at 402-444-7103.