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Nebraska Medicine reports COVID-19 inpatients at an all-time high

Nebraska Medical Center
Posted at 1:21 PM, May 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 00:47:33-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Nebraska Medicine is reporting an all time high in the number of inpatients with confirmed COVID-19.

Taylor Wilson, a spokesperson for the hospital, says they are seeing an increase in new patients infected with the virus, a trend the hospital has noticed in the last few days.

Omaha Metro Healthcare Coalition is reporting 72 percent of ICU beds are currently filled, though not all are coronavirus related.

The following is the data released Monday by the coalition:

-402 out of 1275 beds are available (69% occupancy rate)
-114 Adult ICU beds available (72% occupancy rate)
-11 PICU beds available (69% occupancy rate)
-142 total inpatients diagnosed with COVID-19.
-43 COVID-19 PIU's.
-138 of 382 ventilators in use, 42 being used for confirmed COVID-19 patients.

The 69-percent occupancy for hospital beds is up two-percent from the data released week ago and the number of COVID-19 PIU's are down from 50 last week but higher than the 41 reported three weeks ago.

While COVID-19 hospitalizations went up five from 137 last week to 142 this week, the number has grown by 58 since three weeks ago when some health restrictions were lifted in parts of Nebraska.

Wilson says Nebraska Medicine can handle the current influx, but is concerned this increase could become a trend that eventually overburdens hospitals.

He reminds residents to make safe choices in social distancing and mask wearing.

"I think it is just something that we have to watch and if everybody follows the directions that we told them to with physical distancing and washing their hands and wearing a mask then we can keep the numbers down and the hospitals will be able to handle the surge," said Phil Rooney, a spokesperson for the Douglas County Health Department.

Rooney said that the increase in elective surgeries have also played a rule in increase the number of hospitalizations in Douglas County. He added that it has been too short of a period of time since the restrictions have been lifted to determine a correlation with the state partially reopening and said the larger amounts of testing play a factor in the increased number of cases.

"The concern at this point is with the holiday weekend and people getting together for celebrations is we will be an increase in the spread of the disease that will result in more hospitalizations and the question is will the hospitals be able to handle that surge," Rooney said.

The 364 available hospital beds in Douglas County reported Saturday is the lowest county health officials have reported, and down from a high of 628 in April, according to a 3 News Now Investigator analysis of summary hospital data provided in press releases since April 13. The next update will be Tuesday.

3 News Now is continuing to track this story.