Hospital CEOs say omicron surge may have peaked in Nebraska
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska hospital officials said Monday that it appears the latest surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious omicron variant may have peaked in the state, but hospitalizations remain extremely high.
“There does appear to be some evidence that cases maybe have peaked in Nebraska in the last handful of days or week at the most,” said Brett Richmond, president and CEO of Methodist Fremont Health hospital.
But the large number of COVID-19 patients across the state continues to strain hospital capacity, filling 17% of the state’s hospital beds on Monday. And hospitalizations might still continue to rise in the days ahead because they tend to lag a week or two behind the number of cases.
The state said 739 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 Sunday, which was down slightly from Friday’s peak of 767 but that number has been over 700 every day since Jan. 18, exceeding anything reported all last year and staying well above December’s low of 445 set on Christmas Day.
The number of cases the state reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fell last week to 22,302 for the week ending Thursday. That’s down from the record of 29,141 the week before and 27,987 a week before that.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska also decreased over the past two weeks, going from 3,370.57 new cases per day on Jan. 15 to 3,186 new cases per day on Jan. 29. That number had been above 4,000 from mid-January until early last week.
Just over 21% of the tests reported to the state last week were positive after three weeks with that rate above 26%.
Nebraska Hospital Association President Jeremy Nordquist said the state’s hospitals are still struggling to take care of all the COVID-19 patients and a large number of other patients. Hospitals have also delayed some surgeries to help free up hospital capacity.
“We’re not turning the corner yet because our hospitals and their staff are going to be doing a lot of work to try to continue to care for very high levels of COVID patients and reinstate procedures that have been delayed that Nebraskans need for their care,” Nordquist said.