Ricketts Eases COVID-19 Rules As Hospitalizations Drop Posted by John Axtell Date: December 11, 2020 269 Views Nebraska Gov Pete Ricketts says the state has relaxed its coronavirus restrictions following decline in the number of hospitalized patients over the past 3 weeks. RIcketts had warned shortly before Thanksgiving that he would ramp up his Designated Health Measures if the number of COVID-19 patients exceeded 25% of manned hospital beds. Friday, he said the rolling 7-day average had fallen below 20% – allowing the state to move from the “orange” to “yellow” phase of its pandemic response plan at midnight Friday night. Ricketts said the “north star” guiding the state’s strategic pandemic response has been protecting hospitals from being overwhelmed by sheer numbers of patients. That’s led twice to bans on elective surgeries, now lifted again. Moving into the yellow phase is also good news to sports fans, most of whom have been banned from games and other indoor gatherings. Other requirements that were enforceable are now just recommendations. Ricketts underlined that residents should still wear masks if they can’t avoid crowded areas and confined spaces to keep the virus from spreading. Still in effect is the governor’s executive order giving public bodies the option to meet virtually by videoconference or teleconference through January 31.