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Gov. Ricketts stresses COVID treatments, urges vaccinations

Posted at 6:11 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 19:37:32-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — It's Christmas week and that means plenty of time with family for many across Nebraska.

Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Anthone urged Nebraskans to get tested for covid ahead of time, and if you haven’t yet, to get vaccinated.

“We still want to emphasize that the vaccine is still the number one way we can fight covid,” said Anthone.

Much of the press conference centered around treatments for those that are over 12 years old, those that are covid positive and those have been exposed to covid and are high risk.

Dr. Anthone stressed monoclonal antibody treatment, which he says have gone a long way even in the past year in treating covid patients.

He says 86 infusion centers now exist across the state, in which Nebraskans can be hooked up into an IV and infused with the antibodies.

“This type of antibody therapy has shown to reduce the risk of being hospitalized by about 76 percent,” said Anthone.

Nebraska is already doing 1,400 treatments per week and says it has likely decreased hospital capacity across the state.

Ricketts says he’s heard anecdotally of some residents being denied this treatment by doctors in the past, and he says try again.

“I want people to know that they should get a second opinion, go get a different doctor, if they get the early signs, as Dr. Anthone was describing can make a huge difference in your outcome,” said Ricketts.

Anthone also said antiviral covid treatments that are simply an oral medication, made by Pfizer and Merck, could be coming soon

“So far they are not emergency use authorized by the FDA but we are anticipating one or more will be authorized for use by the end of this month,” said Anthone.

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