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Mayor Stothert and Dr. Pour provide coronavirus update

Posted at 2:04 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-14 13:08:05-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Friday, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Dr. Adi Pour and local health officials provided a COVID-19 update for the area.

During the event, Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said the area has seen a steep increase in cases, citing a 56 percent increase of COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks.

"We are on a steep curve and what I’m really concerned about is this week we had four days where there were more than 600 cases reported to us," Dr. Pour said.

Although the usual clusters of people are getting COVID-19 at higher rates, people ages 19-60, she said the health department has started to see an increase among those ages 10-19 years old as well. About 70 percent of cases were among those ages 22-64 years of age she said.

She said if cases continue to rise at the same rate, Omaha will have more than 1,600 COVID patieints in hospitals by Christmas.

Dr. Harris Frankel, Chief Medical Officer of Nebraska Med, says their biggest concern is staffing because that limits their ability to expand and add to capacity. He said he worries about Omaha continuing on the trajectory the city is currently at.

"The trajectory of the rate of new cases and the subsequent hospitalizations continue to climb. At current rates it is conceivable that in 7 to 14 days we could be at capacity," Dr. Frankel said.

In regards to mask-wearing enforcement, Omaha Police Department (OPD) Deputy Chief Scott Gray said the department has responded to 455 compliance checks between those that were called in and those initiated by officers.

With the checks, Gray said no citations have been issued and said the goal of the department has been to educate and get a higher level of compliance, not to criminalize those who are not following the ordinance.

He said OPD's focus going forward will be on quick stop style convenience stores and bars.

"We’ve gotten information through Dr. Pour’s office and just anecdotally that many cases could either be occurring from those settings, bar settings, or in home gatherings and since it’s kind of difficult for us to do much about the in home gathering side of things we will focus on the provisions related to businesses," Gray said.

Stothert and Gray said most of the checks resulted in finding people that were following the ordinance. Those who weren’t were given a warning and copy of the ordinance and followed up on a few days later. Gray said after following up, they have found people are in compliance.

Watch below or on our Facebook page.

Second part of press conference:

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