LINCOLN – At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Governor Pete Ricketts announced some changes to the current Directed Health Measures as cases continue to rise across Nebraska. Indoor gatherings are now back to being restricted to only fifty percent capacity. Bars and restaurants will now go back to only allowing eight people per table and everyone must stay seated. Weddings and funerals will be limited to eight people per party and the parties must be separated. Due to increased hospitalizations, there are also some changes happening to hospitals statewide.
If you’re doing elective surgeries you keep a ten percent cushion on your staffed hospital beds and staffed ICU beds. To be able to accommodate new coronavirus patients coming in. You will not be allowed to transfer patients if you want to do elective surgeries. For example, if you transfer patients to try and get that ten percent cushion, that is not going to count for your ability to be able to do those elective surgeries.
Those changes will go into effect on Wednesday and continue until November 30. The Governor also said that they are using up to 40 million dollars in CARES act funding to provide grants for hospitals. Dr Gary Anthone, Chief Medical Officer for the state of Nebraska, says that these grants will be used to increase hospital staff.
This will help maintain capacity as we are able to increase the number of beds that are staffed. To the statewide acute care and children’s hospitals that have been taking care of our COVID patients during this time. Each hospital was asked to submit a proposal, outlining it’s plan on how they would use these funds to increase their staffing capability and that’s how we arrived at that dollar amount.
Commissioner of Education Matt Bloomstedt says the schools have, for the most part, done a good job of staying open but he is worried about how things will look in the winter. The Governor and other officials encouraged everyone to continue to wear face masks and social distance. They are saying to avoid crowded places, close contacts, and confined spaces. Ricketts said the main goal is to protect the hospital system and vulnerable populations.