Lincoln, NE (December 1, 2021) Nebraska health officials say that many of the sickest COVID-19 patients who are filling up the state’s hospitals are now unvaccinated younger adults instead of older individuals. The number of people hospitalized in Nebraska with the virus continues to climb this fall, and it hit 555 on Tuesday, which is the highest it has been since last winter. Although the number of hospitalizations remains well below last fall’s peak of 987, hospital capacity remains strained.
The latest state figures said just 13% of the adult intensive care beds and 20% of the pediatric ICU beds were available Tuesday. The Nebraska Hospital Association says unvaccinated patients in the state’s hospitals outnumber vaccinated patients by a ratio of 11:1.
Speaking with reporters on a joint call Wednesday, the State’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Gary Anthone, said Nebraska is reaching a threshold “with increasing patients in the hospital, in the ICU, and on ventilators.”
Nebraska’s State Epidemiologist. Dr. Matthew Donahue said the trend is increasing over the nation as a whole. “It looks like the U.S. is beginning another surge” he said. “Nebraska is smack in the middle of the current national hot spots, and we’re contributing to the increase in national cases and hospitalizations.”
Donahue said the new surge is hitting hardest among people who are younger than those who have been treated previously. “About 40 out of every hundred thousand not-fully-vaccinated people are being hospitalized with covid-19 each week, whereas only four out of every hundred thousand fully vaccinated people are being hospitalized with covid-19 each week.”
At Omaha Methodist Hospital, Dr. Adam Wells said every single patient in the intensive care unit has covid-19. “When you’re talking about needing an ICU bed for any other reason, we’re going to have trouble trying to accommodate everyone.”
All of the Doctors participating in Wednesday’s conference call with reporters agreed that getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid serious illness and hospitalization if infected with Covid-19.