LINCOLN–(KFOR Aug. 26)–Governor Pete Ricketts declared a hospital staffing State of Emergency on Thursday afternoon.
The past couple weeks, hospital administrators, doctors and nurses in Nebraska have sounded the alarm on capacity and staffing issues they are experiencing due to the latest surge of COVID-19.
Gov. Ricketts said the State of Emergency will allow him to bring back an executive order that waives some licensing requirements for hospitals. This will allow some retired or inactive medical professionals to work in Nebraska. The executive order will also defer continuing education requirements and waive a statue that sets specific supervision ratio requirements.
In addition, a Directed Health Measure will go into effect August 30 that limits elective surgeries in D and E classes. These are surgeries that can be delayed 4-12 weeks or more.
Bryan Health and Nebraska Medical Center have already limited these surgeries but the DHM will limit the surgeries in hospitals statewide.
Gov. Ricketts also said the best tool to protect yourself against the virus is getting the COVID-19 vaccine, however he reiterated he is against mask and vaccine mandates especially when it comes to kids in schools.
The governor showed a chart indicating there are fewer hospital beds available now than there were on November 20, 2020. However he said this time around, COVID-19 patients make up 11 percent of hospitalizations as opposed to 32 percent on November 20, 2020.