Hospitals not far from being stressed in Omaha metro as COVID cases and hospitalizations surge once again

Hospitalizations reached 100 Thursday according to DCHD
Posted at 7:23 AM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 12:03:47-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — COVID cases were lessening around March and April, but now they're trending in the opposite direction once again. Thursday, the Douglas County Health Department reported 100 COVID hospitalizations and 355 new positive cases since Tuesday.

Doctors say this upward trend is kind of expected, saying multiple factors are contributing.

"Number 1, the variants are more transmissible, and number 2 is we’re having waning immunity either from vaccination or disease-induced immunity," Dr. Mark Rupp, Chief of Infectious Disease at UNMC, said.

Doctors add lack of masking and not getting boosters are adding to the trends.

The BA2 variant is becoming more dominant in the current cases, a variant that is more transmissible but less severe than past variants we've seen. But, it's evading vaccines.

"If you only got the initial vaccine series but haven’t gotten your booster then your immune system is not as strong so you can get another infection," Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan, Chief of Infectious Diseases at CHI says.

Hospitals are beginning to feel the stress of this new wave. Doctors say it wouldn't take much for hospitals to be at capacity now.

"There's really not a lot of surge capacity within the hospitals. It won’t take too many cases to really feel the impact and stress of having those cases in the hospital," Dr. Rupp said.

The good thing, though, Dr. Vivekenandan says, is we know how to keep infections and hospitalizations at bay.

"We always have to be doing the right things so numbers are going up, positive rates are higher than before and that means higher risk of spreading, more people getting infected," she said. "But things we can do, wear a mask when you go to indoor areas, large crowded indoor areas, if you’re qualified to get vaccine or booster please get those and if you get infected stay home, quarantine, call your doctor primary care provider get antiviral treatment if you can."

Vaccines being approved for children under 5 is also going to help.

"The vaccinations for younger children are going well we approached 150 vaccinations Monday," Phil Rooney, resource specialist for the Douglas County Health Department said. "It’s very encouraging to see how many parents are choosing to vaccinate their young children."

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