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Nebraska still has 5th-highest rate of new virus infections

Coronavirus COVID-19 generic
Coronavirus COVID-19 generic(WRDW)
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 11:51 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska began imposing new coronavirus restrictions Wednesday, after the number of people hospitalized due to COVD-19 remained at a record level for two straight days and the state reported 11 new deaths from the virus.

The state said 565 deaths have now been linked to the virus. The rate of new virus cases in Nebraska continued to rank fifth-highest in the nation as the state reported 592 cases of COVID-19 Tuesday to increase the total to 59,409 cases.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus remained at 380 for the second day in a row Tuesday, according to the state’s online virus tracker. That remains well above the spring peak of 232 set on May 27. Hospital officials said they expect that number to remain high for several weeks because of the recent surge of cases.

Cliff Robertson, CEO of CHI Health, said his group of 14 hospitals in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa is working to bring in more nurses from other parts of the country to make sure they can handle the additional COVID-19 cases.

Over the past seven days, Nebraska has reported an average of 854 new cases per day. That’s up significantly from two weeks ago when the state was reporting an average of 525.86 cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The negative trend in virus cases prompted Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts to announce several new restrictions last week that took effect Wednesday. Hospitals now must keep 10% of their beds free for COVID-19 patients, and customers at restaurants and bars must remain seated at tables with no more than eight people.

The rate of new cases per 100,000 Nebraska residents over the past two weeks reached 552.13 on Tuesday, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

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