LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — On Aug. 26, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signed an executive order with the hopes of lowering hospital capacity in the state as more and more COVID-19 patients were being hospitalized. On Wednesday, his office extended that order.
The governor's office said, "Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the State is extending its Directed Health Measure (DHM) to address hospital staffing shortages. Initially, the DHM was set to expire on September 30, 2021. With the extension, it will remain in force through October 31, 2021 unless renewed. The DHM suspends inpatient Class D and Class E elective surgeries for all Acute Care, Critical Care, and Children’s Hospitals in Nebraska. These are elective surgeries that can wait four weeks or longer without substantially changing a patient’s outcome."
The threshold for use of the Directed Health Measure was COVID patients making up more than 10% of hospitalizations in the state
“Some of the hospitals are already taking steps to be able to do that," Ricketts said in August. "But we’re going to make it mandatory here in Nebraska to help free up hospital capacity.”
Ricketts has not stated what the next step would be if hospitalizations go up but said previously that he is against a mask mandate and other DHMs could be put in place.
COVID-19 data on a statewide level is available on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Service's website.