More Covid Deaths — Vaccine Now Required For Nebraska Hospital Employees

Lincoln, NE (August 12, 2021) Lincoln had three more deaths from Covid 19 today. They were men in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. All three were in hospitals…..two were vaccinated and one was unvaccinated. Their deaths pushed the Pandemic total for Lancaster County to 251. The health Department also reported 102 new cases today.

Nebraska’s biggest health care systems will require all their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The companies issued a joint statement Thursday announcing the move as virus cases continue to surge in the state.

The announcement included CHI Health, Nebraska Medicine, Methodist Health System, Bryan Health, Children’s Hospital and several other large health care employers.

“We did join with other leading systems across the State today to make Covid-19 vaccine a condition of employment going forward at Bryan Health” according to CEO Russ Gronewold.

The move from these large employers may provide a boost to the state’s vaccination campaign. State health officials said Wednesday that 50.7% of all Nebraskans have been fully vaccinated, but the pace of vaccinations has slowed since the spring.

Bryan Health is seeing a steady upswing in the number of covid 19 patients needing hospital care. Spokesman Bob Ravenscroft said today that the increase began on June 30th, and the number hospitalized has been doubling roughly every two weeks.  Bryan had some days in June with no Covid patients, but today is treating 50.

Pediatric intensive care units are filling up rapidly with cases, a fact that Bryan officials attribute to the faster transmission of the Delta variant and the lack of an authorized vaccine for children under 12.  Ravenscroft referred to a joint call among Hospital Administrators Thursday morning.

“Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines are essentially full, and on this morning’s call there was one bed left in Denver, so there really isn’t a regional relief.”

Bryan Health CEO Russ Gronewold also said it would be helpful if the State of Nebraska would re-instate its covid 19 dashboard, as requested yesterday by a group of 11 members of the Legislature.

“When we’re trying to create confidence in the medical system and confidence in the response to something we’ve not been through before, the only way to do that is through complete transparency, and so that’s necessary for the Community to gain confidence.”

Gronewold said it would also be helpful to have the statewide dashboard back for planning purposes, since Bryan serves numerous communities throughout the area.