Ricketts Declares Statewide Hospital Staffing Emergency

      Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has declared a statewide hospital staffing emergency because of the growing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and a continuing shortage of healthcare workers.

 Ricketts told a Capitol news conference that the hospitalization issue isn’t as bad as it was at the peak of the pandemic in November, but that CEOs and CMOs at hospital systems told him the availability of beds is tighter because there are a lot more non-COVID patients than in November..

That led the governor to issue his order bringing back some of the waivers used last year and earlier this year to ease staffing shortages before the COVID-19 vaccine became readily available.

The other component is a Directed Health Measure, effective Monday, banning elective surgeries that can be delayed 4-to-12 months or longer than 12 months. A similar ban was in effect most of last year.

      Ricketts said the hospitalization issue isn’t as bad as it was at the peak of the pandemic, but CEOs and CMOs at hospital systems told him the availability of beds is tighter because there are a lot more non-COVID patients than in November..

          As of Wednesday, only 11% of filled hospital beds in Nebraska were COVID patients with 25% of beds available. In November, 32% of patients were COVID and 29% of beds were available. Ricketts said the situation is being monitored closely.

Ricketts reiterated his opposition to mask mandates, especially for children in school.

The governor also repeated his opposition to vaccination mandates and so-called vaccination passports.

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