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As COVID-19 hospitalizations rise again, Nebraska returning to daily data updates

Gov. Ricketts said there were no plans to issue a DHM on elective surgeries.
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 1:17 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Gov. Pete Ricketts said Monday that with COVID-19 hospitalizations back up, Nebraska would again resume updating its hospital capacity data dashboard daily but likely would not issue another DHM.

“Our hospitalizations have been up around 400 or so, which is kinda the threshold to hit the 10% level we’ve talked about throughout the course of the pandemic, and that’s the threshold where we start doing the daily data,” Ricketts said.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services was expected to begin those daily updates Monday, he said. The dashboard updated around 1:30 p.m., again including age, gender, race, and ethnicity breakdowns of the COVID-19 data as well.

The governor said he didn’t expect there would be a directed health measure about elective surgeries, which have been implemented in the past to help alleviate the stress on hospitals.

“We think we — the hospitals — have been able to manage it, with regard to their personnel and so forth,” Ricketts said.

He also noted that the state has also added flu and RSV data to the hospital capacity dashboard.

During his news conference Monday on the update to the DHHS strategic plan, the governor said he is opposed to mandating COVID-19 for anyone, particularly children. He said he encourages COVID-19 vaccinations but that parents should review the data available from the FDA about the pediatric COVID-19 vaccination and work with their doctors to determine what is right for them.

“This needs to be a personal choice,” he said.

Ricketts said that this vaccination can’t be compared to other required vaccinations, which have “years if not decades of data for parents to absorb and for us to know the long-term effects of.”

He said generations of parents have had decades to know about the effectiveness and effects of vaccinations such as the mumps vaccine, which was developed over four years — in the 1960s. Vaccinations for measles and rubella were also developed in the 1960s before being combined into a single shot in 1971.

Also on Monday, Ricketts gave a quick update on the status of lawsuits the state is involved in regarding COVID-19 vaccination policies.

He said the A Circuit will get briefed this week — and could issue an injunction — on the lawsuit filed last week over the federal requirements for businesses with 100 employees or more. While the governor said the current injunction in 5th Circuit “was a very positive sign,” it does not apply to the lawsuit involving Nebraska and Iowa.

The lawsuit regarding federal contracting remains in process, he said.

Ricketts said another lawsuit, regarding Medicare and Medicaid, is pending and may get “briefed up” next week.

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