Hospitals report high bed occupancy rates due to COVID-19

Posted at 9:58 AM, Oct 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 12:23:57-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — COVID-19 numbers in Douglas County are rapidly rising. On Friday afternoon, the Douglas County Health Department reported 185 new cases since midnight the previous day.

Doctors say the state is seeing in the largest surge in cases now, months into the pandemic.

"We’re entering a dangerous period for our state in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The largest surge of cases and hospitalizations we have seen is currently upon us in Nebraska," Dr. John Lowe from University of Nebraska Medical Center says.

Not only are positive cases rising, but the number of patients needing medical treatment is also increasing. Dr. Lowe says the state has reached record levels.

As of Friday morning, metro-area hospitals had only 172 medical and surgery beds available for an 88% occupancy rate and 25 ICU beds available for a 93% occupancy rate.

Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC doctors are worried that with flu season right around the corner, hospitals may reach capacity.

"We do every year so the thought of having a flu season and a COVID-19 pandemic on top of it at the same time makes us extremely uneasy. We were far beyond ICU capacity in May, we opened up multiple units," Dr. Daniel Johnson, Division Chief of Critical Care at UNMC says.

They say that if people do not take precautions such as social distancing and wearing face masks, they won't have beds for those who need treatment.

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