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Mayor Stothert and other officials discuss coronavirus, city budget during briefing

Posted at 3:00 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 23:19:52-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour and City finance director Steve Curtis spoke Wednesday about coronavirus in the community and the city budget.

Dr. Pour mentioned that cases in the Hispanic population have decreased while cases in white people have increased.

Additionally, there is an increase in cases among younger people and a decrease in those who are older. Dr. Pour referenced crowded bars and people not social distancing as a possible cause, saying it’s also important for sports teams to social distance and wear masks.

In the last few days, Dr. Pour said she’s seen an increase in travel exposure-related cases.

There is a steady decrease in COVID-19 related hospitalizations.

Currently, 86 individuals are hospitalized. At the highest point, 163 patients were hospitalized.

Sixteen COVID-19 patients are currently using a ventilator while 49 were used at the highest point.

Douglas County reported their 100th death on Wednesday and Dr. Pour said deaths are higher than she anticipated. However, she said Douglas County is likely better off than other communities.

There’s a death rate of 1.3% with most deaths impacting those who are older and white.

Dr. Pour discussed COVID-19 clusters, which involve groups of 2 or more cases. Construction and long-term care jobs have seen clusters of cases, but the biggest involves the food processing industry.

Twenty-nine clusters were identified within food processing jobs in the community with 1,370 COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Pour also announced that the South Omaha testing site at 50th and G will re-open on Sunday after closing due to a lack of supplies.

Mayor Jean Stothert spoke about the city budget, mentioning that the city is still in a hiring freeze and is approaching the budget carefully until an agreement is made.

She said there was a revenue loss of $82-84 million that the CARES Act doesn’t cover. However, a more accurate estimate says it’s around $56 million -- less than originally predicted, but still a major shortfall in the budget.

Mayor Stothert mentioned that protests in the city accounted for $2-3 million in overtime for police.

City finance director Steve Curtis said the sales taxes are trending 10% down. Restaurant tax was down 30% for the month of May while hotel/motel tax was down 71%.

The mayor will present the 2021 city budget to Omaha City Council on July 21.

Additionally, the mayor mentioned that the first week of public pools being open brought in $16,000 which was all donated to food banks.

Watch live below.