July 27, 2021

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There's nothing like our health

Nebraska Medicine doctor warns pandemic is not over

3 min read

While Gov. Pete Ricketts cancels his Directed Health Measures, an infectious disease expert says not so fast.”This will be our last COVID update,” said Ricketts at a news conference Monday.He signed a series of executive orders to cancel directed health measures.”The requirements to quarantine and isolate will no longer be in our directed health measures, and that will end effective on 11:59 this evening,” he announced.The decision, he said comes because of low case rates, per 100,000 people, there have been less than five cases. Hospitalizations statewide are at 73, just two percent of overall hospital capacity, the lowest number since the state started keeping track in April 2020. “As we looked at our declining cases and our hospitalizations, and the number of people that have been vaccinated, a combination of all those things together lead us to believe that we’re at a position right now that we can return to normal,” Ricketts said. “Even though we may be done with the pandemic, it is not done with us,” said Dr. James Lawler, Co-Director of Nebraska Medicine’s Global Center for Health Security.Lawler said the COVID-19 numbers need to be below one, not five.He said we’re setting ourselves up for a repeat of last summer when there was a surge of cases in young people, who let their guard down.”We have done a relatively poor job of getting younger adults vaccinated, which I think will be problematic for us this summer,” he said.With not everyone getting vaccinated, Lawler said we need to watch out for the variants.”We are very vulnerable and we may not see the numbers we saw last spring, and again, in November, but we can clearly see much more disease and many more deaths, unfortunately, if we are not careful,” he said.Ricketts said if there is a surge of cases, he can issue Directed Health Measures again.

While Gov. Pete Ricketts cancels his Directed Health Measures, an infectious disease expert says not so fast.

“This will be our last COVID update,” said Ricketts at a news conference Monday.

He signed a series of executive orders to cancel directed health measures.

“The requirements to quarantine and isolate will no longer be in our directed health measures, and that will end effective on 11:59 this evening,” he announced.

The decision, he said comes because of low case rates, per 100,000 people, there have been less than five cases. Hospitalizations statewide are at 73, just two percent of overall hospital capacity, the lowest number since the state started keeping track in April 2020.

“As we looked at our declining cases and our hospitalizations, and the number of people that have been vaccinated, a combination of all those things together lead us to believe that we’re at a position right now that we can return to normal,” Ricketts said.

“Even though we may be done with the pandemic, it is not done with us,” said Dr. James Lawler, Co-Director of Nebraska Medicine’s Global Center for Health Security.

Lawler said the COVID-19 numbers need to be below one, not five.

He said we’re setting ourselves up for a repeat of last summer when there was a surge of cases in young people, who let their guard down.

“We have done a relatively poor job of getting younger adults vaccinated, which I think will be problematic for us this summer,” he said.

With not everyone getting vaccinated, Lawler said we need to watch out for the variants.

“We are very vulnerable and we may not see the numbers we saw last spring, and again, in November, but we can clearly see much more disease and many more deaths, unfortunately, if we are not careful,” he said.

Ricketts said if there is a surge of cases, he can issue Directed Health Measures again.

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