OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In Tuesday's press conference Governor Ricketts said that while our COVID hospitalizations have gone down since our November peak, we must continue to stay vigilant to stop the spread of the virus.
"The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, but we’ve got several more months of fighting this pandemic. It’s going to take at least the first half of the year. We’ve talked about people, the general public getting access to vaccines maybe in April or May so we’ve still got a couple of months to go through to get this vaccine out and distributed broadly to end this pandemic," Ricketts said.
According to Ricketts 34% of hospital beds are available, 35% of ICU beds are available and 75% of ventilators are available. There are currently 484 COVID hospitalizations in the state.
"You can see that we’ve been able to reduce the number of coronavirus hospitalizations by more than half since our high in November, but we’re still at a high number of hospitalizations. And we’ve appeared to kind of plateau here a little bit. We want people to remember to use all the tools to slow down the spread of the virus," Ricketts said.
According to Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour, there are about 45 to 50 COVID patients on ventilators.
"What our healthcare providers are telling us, once a person is on a ventilator they have a 50 percent chance not to survive, so we want that number to be really low, and healthcare providers have learned over the pandemic how to prevent individuals from getting on the ventilators," Dr. Pour said.
Douglas County has begun tier 3 of phase 1A in vaccination distribution. According to Dr. Pour, pharmacists, home health staff and dentists have begun getting the COVID vaccine.
"We hope we are going to be done with phase 1A by the end of January. A lot of it depends on the vaccine that is coming into the state of Nebraska and then is being allocated to locals. What I can assure you is we are not sitting on any vaccine," Dr. Pour said.