By Terry Baxter, Law Enforcement and Safety Specialist
I have covered this topic several times throughout this past year, but I see from traveling the state that not everyone agrees with the restrictions implemented, or maybe they think they are invincible, so I think addressing this topic continues to be a priority.
Pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 71-502 and § 81-601 and Title 173 Neb. Admin, Code Ch. 6, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services may exercise authority to order Directed Health Measures necessary to prevent the spread of communicable disease, illness or poisoning. The main object of the order is to reduce morbidity and mortality ;minimize disease transmission; protect health care personnel and preserve health care system functioning.
Every county in Nebraska is currently covered by State Directed Health Measures and I am sure I speak for everyone that we want this disease to diminish and things back to the away they once were, but unfortunately until everyone does their part in slowing the spread of the disease, the pandemic will continue. Positive cases continue to rise and those considered to be a higher risk could get very sick if they contract the disease.
I know everyone is tired of hearing about COVID and the restrictions that go along with it, but until the disease is controlled and threats of exposure no longer exists restrictions will remain in place.
Law enforcement and corrections should ensure you use recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times, this job is tough enough already, but to prevent unwanted exposures PPE is a necessity tool in the safe performance of operational duties.
Close contact happens every day for law enforcement from calls for service, arrests and for corrections officers simply dealing with inmate activity. It is through these contacts that virus is mainly spread via respiratory droplets produced from coughs, talking, sneezes, etc.
I am not telling you something you don’t already know, but new COVID cases are reported every day, and people on the front lines are increasingly vulnerable to contracting the virus.
Over 81 law enforcement officials from 21 states have died of coronavirusrelated complications. There are no reported law enforcement or correction officer deaths (knock on wood) in Nebraska relating to COVID exposure, so let’s continue to ensure it doesn’t.
I know the restrictions can be annoying, I know not everyone agrees with what is being implemented, but for your protection, your fellow coworkers, the public, but most importantly your families, do you part…Stay
Do Your Part:
- Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household. But, being within 6 feet of an individual with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time is still consider close contact.
- Wear a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid contact with others.
- If you know someone is sick avoid contact if at all possible, or ensure you wear personal protective equipment.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer, but as soon as you can wash with soap and water even after sanitizer is applied.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then properly disposal of tissue.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Wash your clothing and sanitize your equipment.