OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Nebraska health officials are reporting the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.
"I don't know any better definition of a hot spot," University of Nebraska Medical Center Dr. Mark Rupp said.
Dr. Rupp says COVID-19 rates across the state are alarming, adding the number of new cases per day is no record to be proud of.
"These are trends going exactly in the wrong direction," Dr. Rupp said. "It also comes at a time when we don't have a lot of capacity, even though we are trying to maintain some degree of cushion."
Under Governor Pete Ricketts' directed health measures, hospitals need to keep 10% of their general beds and ICU beds empty in order to perform elective surgeries.
"Even with our increasing numbers of hospitalizations, we do have robust hospital capacity," Ricketts said in a Monday press conference.
He adds 34% of the state's hospital beds are available and 35% of ICU beds still open.
According to the Douglas County Health Department, 79% of the ICU beds in the metro area hospital system are full.
"I think that everybody should be wearing a mask and it should be mandated," Dr. Rupp said.
Rupp believes state leaders can do more to balance safe health measures with smart economic decisions.
"If we did pull together and we did all of this right, we could get things back under control." Dr. Rupp said.
Dr. Rupp says one of the biggest challenges right now is the spread among those under the age of 35. He says even though they are young and healthy, many continue to have fatigue and cognitive problems.