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Nebraska state job ad touts lack of vaccine requirement

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s veterans affairs agency is facing questions from a state lawmaker after it published job advertisements for nurses touting the fact that the state doesn’t require its employees to get coronavirus vaccinations.

The ads on a state jobs website prominently note the lack of vaccination requirements for state employees, right after mentioning a $5,000 hiring bonus. In a separate mail advertisement, the state lists “No mandated COVID-19 vaccination” as one of the “many great benefits” of its nursing jobs.

State Sen. Carol Blood, of Bellevue, said she inquired about the ad after constituents with loved ones in Nebraska’s state-run veterans homes brought it to her attention. Blood said she understands that the state faces a chronic nursing shortage but was concerned because many veterans’ home residents are elderly and sick.

“It almost appears as if we saw this as an opportunity to scoop up people who don’t want to be vaccinated,” said Blood, whose district includes the Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home. “I don’t know if that’s a really good strategy.”

The listings were posted shortly before Nebraska’s largest hospital systems jointly announced that they will require their employees to get vaccinated.

The coalition includes Boys Town, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals, Bryan Health, Methodist, CHI Health, Midwest Surgical Hospital, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine. Several have reopened wards to cope with a surge in largely unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

“I think we’re approaching a public health crisis,” said Dr. John Trapp, chief medical officer at Bryan Health.

The ads also come less than a year after the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs’ director, John Hilgert, disclosed his own struggles with the virus and implored people to take it seriously. Hilgert’s boss, Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, has repeatedly urged residents to get vaccinated but refused to require it statewide or to require masks, despite pleas from some public health officials.

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In a statement, a department spokesman pointed to virus safety measures that are in place in all four of its facilities, including mandatory weekly testing for vaccinated workers and testing every other day for those who aren’t.

Masks are also required for staff when they’re working with residents, visitors or other employees. Face shields or eye protection is required if county transmission rates are considered “high,” with 100 or more new cases per 100,000 people in a week or 10% positive tests in that time window.

Additionally, unvaccinated staff members are required to quarantine if they’re exposed to the virus. All workers must also complete a screening and temperature reading any time they enter a facility.

“Serving the veterans and their family members in our homes is our mission, and we take their safety and care very seriously,” said department spokesman Holden Armstrong.

Blood, a potential Democratic candidate for governor who has focused heavily on veterans’ issues in the Legislature, said she’d like to see the state fill nursing jobs in other ways, such as raising pay or possibly offering assistance to medical professionals with student loan debt.

“I’m deeply concerned about the message this gives to our veterans’ families,” she said. “They want to believe their loved ones are in a safe place, and I don’t think they feel that way right now.”

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7 Semiconductor Stocks Set to Gain From the Chip Shortage

Who knew that something so tiny could create such a big problem? However, that’s the case with the semiconductor industry. Chip manufacturers are facing supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Semiconductors are in high demand for the big tech companies who need the chips to power the servers for their data centers. But they are also needed for much of the technology we take for granted including laptops, tablets, mobile phones, gaming consoles, and automobiles – a sector that seems to be at the root of the current crisis.

Any weekend mechanic knows that even traditional internal combustion cars are heavily reliant on electronics. In fact, electronic parts and components account for 40% of a new, internal combustion vehicle. That’s more than doubled since 2000.

However as it turns out, some manufacturers may have overestimated how soon consumers would be ready for an “all-electric” future. And that meant that they didn’t forecast how much demand there would be for the kind of chips needed to do the mundane, but vital tasks of steering, braking, and even powering windows up and down.

Part of the problem is that U.S. businesses are heavily reliant on countries like China and Taiwan for their semiconductors. In fact, only about 12.5% of semiconductor manufacturing is done in the United States.

Of course, this creates a tremendous opportunity for the companies that manufacture these chips. And it comes at a good time. The semiconductor sector is notoriously cyclical and was coming down from the elevated demand for the 5G buildout.

In this special presentation, we’ll give you a list of seven semiconductor companies that you can invest in to take advantage of this opportunity.

View the “7 Semiconductor Stocks Set to Gain From the Chip Shortage”.