Ricketts Warns Springtime COVID-19 Rules May Return

Nebraska continued to rack up big COVID-19 numbers on Thursday. Health and Human Services reported 2,608 new cases and 25 deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 92,553 and deaths to 756.

     There were 864 recoveries, but the number of active cases still jumped past 40,000 to 40,780 including 905 who are hospitalized. Both are records. 

      The percentage of available hospital beds dropped to 25% and ICU beds to 27% while respirators remained at 70% available. 

       The continuing COVID-19 surge has led Gov. Pete Ricketts to threaten to reimpose the social-distancing restrictions that forced some businesses to close this spring, but he remains opposed to a statewide mask mandate.

        Ricketts, speaking via Zoom because he’s in quarantine, told a news conference yesterday that he’s worried the spike will soon overwhelm the state’s hospitals. 

The situation grew a little worse yesterday with another 20 hospitalizations. Chief State Medical Officer Dr Gary Anthone said the growth in cases and hospitalizations is being seen in all corners of Nebraska and in communities of all sizes.

Governor Ricketts put the emphasis for reducing the spread of COVID-19 on individual responsibility rather than government intervention, but made it clear he’s ready to go back to the spring orders if necessary.

Just a reminder – free COVID-19 testing through Test Nebraska is available from 7-9 AM Mondays and Fridays at the old Chadron Hospital at 8th and Morehead. Go to testnebraska.com first to register.