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Mayor Stothert and Dr. Adi Pour provide COVID update

Testing, Halloween, mask ordinance enforcement addressed
Posted at 2:06 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 23:16:00-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert provided an update on coronavirus in the area on Wednesday.

Pour said 30.6 percent of Douglas County residents have been tested at least once for coronavirus. She said more testing is being done now and that more people are taking action.

Pour said 3.2 percent of the residents in Douglas County currently have coronavirus. So far, there’s been a 1.1 percent mortality rate in Douglas County with 209 deaths related to the pandemic.

Pour said 206 medical beds are available, along with 40 adult ICU beds and eight pediatric ICU beds. She said 138 people are hospitalized with coronavirus.

Pour said hospital concerns are more based on staffing than room for patients.

With Halloween approaching at the end of the month, Pour says the county is not canceling the festive day.

“We are not going to cancel Halloween in Douglas County," Pour announced. "We are going to have a safe and fun Halloween.”

"We want to have a fun Halloween, but we want to have a safe Halloween," Pour said.

She suggests outdoor movie nights and pumpkin patches as safe activities.

Pour said large groups are risky. She said costume parties and parades should be done in small groups with social distancing practices in place.

Haunted houses, Pour said, could be among the highest risk Halloween activities. She also advised avoiding Halloween activities where alcohol may be present.

Pour says trick or treating can be done safely. She suggests small groups, bringing hand sanitizer along and wearing masks. For those handing out treats, she says consider leaving out a bowl or having individual bags.

Mayor Jean Stothert also addressed the city's mask ordinance, which the city council recently extended to November 24. She says she agrees with the council on mandate, saying she wished it didn't have to be a law, but it was necessary.

“As soon as possible that we can lift these restrictions, we certainly will," Stothert said. "But now is not the time to do it, because it is still here, and we still do not have a vaccine and we still do not have a cure.”

She says the Omaha Police Department is enforcing the law, doing over 180 compliance checks. She does not believe a lack of enforcement is connected to cases going up.

Stothert says business have been correcting after being warned and so a ticket is not necessary.

Stothert also addressed CARES Act funding. She says the city has reduced spending by $22 million, and she believes the budget should be balanced at the end of the year. The state and county are expected to give $30 million each to the city.

“I feel very strongly, and I know that Steve Curtiss does too, that we should be able to balance out our budget by the end of the year without any full time layoffs at all," Stothert said. But we still have not received any money from Douglas County or the State.”

The Mayor says the Governor's Office guaranteed the money to be delivered by the end of the year.

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