Virus hospitalizations and cases still falling across state

February 14, 2022 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The number of virus hospitalizations and cases continues to decline sharply across Nebraska giving hospitals some relief.

But hospital officials said Monday that their facilities remain busy with non-COVID-19 patients, and they are dealing with ongoing staff shortages and a backlog of procedures that were delayed during last month’s surge driven by the highly contagious omicron variant.

“We have a lot of other patients aside from our COVID patients, and we have that backlog of people that were waiting to get elective surgeries done. We have a lot of people that weren’t getting care during the COVID pandemic,” said Mike Hansen, president and CEO of Columbus Community Hospital.

Nebraska health officials said 496 people were hospitalized with the virus Sunday. That number has declined steadily since hitting a peak of 767 on Jan. 28 after climbing dramatically from the Dec. 25 low of 445.

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The number of virus cases the state reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continued to decline quickly last week from the peak of the omicron surge. The state reported 4,868 cases last week, down from 10,435 the week before, 22,302 the previous week and the record of 29,141 cases set in the week that began Jan. 16.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska also decreased sharply over the past two weeks, going from 3,186 new cases per day on Jan. 29 to 695.43 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.