LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts urged residents to be safe going into the holiday week as COVID-19 related hospitalizations continue to trend down in the state.
A total of 582 individuals are hospitalized in the state due to COVID-19 as of Monday. Thirty-six percent of total hospital beds are available and 41% of ICU beds are available.
The Moderna vaccine has been approved and Nebraska expects to get 32,000 of those vaccines this week and around 11,000 from Pfizer. The Pfizer vaccines will not be shipped until next week and will be banked so the pharmacy program gets those next week, according to Gov. Ricketts.
Healthcare workers directly dealing with the virus are all expected to be vaccinated by the end of the year. Long term care residents and staff are expected to start getting vaccinated a few days before the new year.
A variety of guests spoke during Monday’s press conference.
Pulmonologist Dr. Kevin Reichmuth presented on COVID-19 vaccination myths. He mentioned that the vaccine doesn’t affect DNA, doesn’t cause infertility and doesn’t cause Bell’s Palsy.
He debunked the myth that the virus contains a microchip and added that the vaccines are effective but people should still be wearing masks.
“Vaccines don’t save lives, vaccinations do. We have to get people educated and assured that it’s safe,” Dr. Reichmuth said.
A long term care official said facilities were hurt badly during the pandemic and thanked workers.
Tony Goins, Director of Economic Development, spoke about a new Department of Economic Development field office that will mark the first location in North Omaha. The new office will create more economic opportunities.
Jason Jackson, the Director of Administrative Services, says workforce participation among minorities is up in Nebraska and is the highest its been in a long time.
Gov. Ricketts discussed the new stimulus package and said he hasn’t been fully briefed on it yet. When asked about the possible $600 stimulus checks, Gov. Ricketts said this seems like a bridge program to the Biden administration and citizens could see more stimulus money eventually.
Watch his remarks below or on our Facebook page.