Health experts: Coronavirus pandemic worsening in Nebraska

Posted at 2:39 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 23:15:04-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Pandemic experts at UNMC are worried that Nebraska is quickly headed toward disaster as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Right now, the number of positive cases and hospitalizations match we saw at the peak of the pandemic in May. One huge difference though is that instead of operating at 50% capacity, metro hospitals are operating at 85% capacity.

“The assumption that if you get sick, we’re going to have a hospital bed for you, is a false assumption," said Daniel Johnson, M.D., division chief of critical care.

The medical experts say with flu season on the way, and cases still on the rise, now is not the time to be rolling back restrictions. They say they are concerned with the school reopening at this time that cannot enforce social distancing or contact tracing.

“Certainly we have not yet reached level of community transmission where we can open businesses up full, open schools up fully and return to what people would consider normal community activities," said James Lawler, M.D, with the division of infectious diseases.

“I do not think that this is the time to rescind that mask mandate for the City of Omaha, this is the time actually to expand that mandate throughout the state," Mark Rupp M.D., with the division of infectious diseases.

The doctors are urging the community and leaders to do what has been proven to prevent the spread of COVID. Wear a mask, practice social distancing and stay home if you are ill or have come into contact with someone who has tested positive.

They say regardless of which side of the political aisle you fall on, it’s time to face the facts that COVID-19 is on the rise once again in Nebraska.

“COVID-19 is not a political or ideological issue," said John Lowe, M.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor for health security. "Our advice is the same regardless of political leadership at any level.”

Nebraska is currently tied for sixth among U.S. states for daily coronavirus cases per capita.

To learn more about what health officials know and don't know about coronavirus right now, read the document below or click here.

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