Pressure on Nebraska hospitals eases as COVID-19 cases fall

February 7, 2022 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The pressure is easing on Nebraska hospitals as the surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious omicron variant continues to subside, but hospitals remain quite busy.

Nebraska hospital officials said Monday that they are cautiously optimistic that virus hospitalizations will continue to decline, but they worry about the possibility of another surge. Hospitalizations have been increasing almost continuously since the delta variant arrived in the state last summer.

“We are hopeful that Nebraska hospitals are starting to experience the beginning of the end of the omicron surge,” Nebraska Hospital Association President Jeremy Nordquist said.

Lisa Vail, chief nursing officer for Bryan Health in Lincoln, said she is “optimistic that we are turning a corner.”

The state said 627 people were hospitalized with the virus in Nebraska Sunday. That number has been steadily declining since peaking at 767 on Jan. 28 after a monthlong surge from the late December low of 445.

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But hospitals are also caring for a large number of other patients because many people delayed care during the pandemic.

The number of virus cases the state reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fell dramatically last week to 10,435. That was less than half of the 22,302 reported previous week and down from the record of 29,141 set the week before that.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska also decreased over the past two weeks, going from 4,163.00 new cases per day on Jan. 22 to 1,490.71 new cases per day on Saturday. That number was consistently above 4,000 from mid January until Jan. 26 during the peak of the omicron surge.