Nebraska Legislature Suspended; Ricketts to Hold Press Conference with Updates This Afternoon

LINCOLN – In keeping with the CDC’s updated recommendations about public gatherings, the Nebraska Legislature has suspended its current session until further notice. With a community acquired case now in Nebraska, it is critically important to follow this recommendation.

The Nebraska legislative session was set to reconvene on Tuesday, March 17th. However, the CDC issued updated guidance last night, stating the importance of limiting close contact gatherings and crowded events to less than 50 people.

Governor Pete Ricketts will be joined by officials from the Nebraska Department of Education and Department of Labor in a press conference today at 3:30 p.m. to announce coronavirus response developments and relief measures for the state.

Flattening the Curve:

One infected person infects about 2.5 others; they in turn infect 2.5 each. Within days, one person can result in 10 cases in the community – and that continues exponentially. The current estimates from the University of Nebraska Medical Center suggest that for every 100 people infected, five will need to be hospitalized.

In the state of Nebraska, over an 8-week period, that could be between 30,000 and 90,000 additional hospitalized people. 12,000 to 20,000 of those might need an intensive care bed. UNMC stresses this key point: There aren’t that many hospital beds in Nebraska. “We will be unable to provide lifesaving care for people with this infection,” according to the hospital. “Don’t forget, in addition to the patients with this new infection, your hospital still must take care of those with heart attacks, cancer, strokes and many other conditions.” Most of the hospitals in Nebraska are already near capacity, according to UNMC.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services shows the total number of COVID-19 infections in the state at 18 cases, predominantly in Douglas County. Three remain hospitalized in the UNMC Biocontainment Unit: A 16-year-old boy from Crofton and a former Diamond Princess passenger have both improved to good condition. The 36-year-old Omaha woman remains in critical condition.