OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Hospital cases are up from about three weeks ago and remain steady. In Nebraska and Iowa, COVID hospitalizations are ticking up. The Douglas County Health Department reports that 79 people are in the hospital with one pediatric case. Those numbers also include Council Bluffs and Missouri Valley. At this time last year, there were about 30 in the hospital.
Dr. Rudolf Kotula with Methodist Health System calls it "concerning." So what is fueling this trend?
"We are still in the middle of graduations, people are back at swimming pools, people are at all kinds of parties, people aren't wearing masks anymore," Kotula said.
Douglas County only has about two-thirds of the population vaccinated, which indicates that individuals got the Johnson & Johnson shot or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna. Even fewer people have had booster shots.
"Patients who I have seen in the hospital within the last week or two, I don't think they were all vaccinated. The patients I have seen were immunocompromised or didn't get the booster or just got one booster and were unlucky that despite all these immunizations, they ended up in the hospital," Kotula said.
Douglas County Health Department Resource Specialist Phil Rooney says only 10% of vaccinated folks have reported breakthrough cases, meaning they tested positive after getting vaccinated. 0.044 percent of the people who have died were vaccinated.
"As we know, it's virus, so it keeps changing and it's going to keep changing," Rooney said.
The variants the Department sees are: omicron and the subvariants BA.2, BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5.
"It's the same symptoms we've been seeing over the years: upper respiratory issues, aches, pains, sometimes sniffles, sometimes mild cases, sometimes people have to go to the hospital," Rooney said.
Matt Wyant with the Pottawattamie County Public Health Department believes the slight jump is part of the learning curve, and it's not going to disappear.
"It's still a part of what we have to be diligent for," Wyant said.