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Hospitals fill up as COVID cases surge in Nebraska

November 10, 2021 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Hospital occupancy rates in metropolitan Omaha are higher than at any point during the pandemic amid a surge in COVID-19 cases that has health officials raising alarms.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that Nebraska had the nation’s fifth-highest percentage increase in COVID cases last week, part of a surge of infections occurring in the upper Great Plains.

“Our hospitals have nowhere to go at this point,” Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse said Tuesday, while making an urgent appeal for people to get COVID-19 and flu vaccines, wear masks indoors and socially distance. “We’re talking about some hospitals having no beds. Some of our hospitals have maybe a handful of beds, if you’re lucky. They continue to bed patients in hallways, in the ERs. It’s just a really ugly situation.”

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People are hospitalized for a host of reasons besides COVID-19. But COVID-19 hospitalizations have been holding steady at an elevated level of about 190, with more than 30 of those people on ventilators, according to data Huse presented Tuesday. The county recorded 10 more COVID-19 deaths last week.

“We don’t have capacity,” Huse said, noting that the hospitals’ staffed beds have hovered around 90% full over the past week.