Lincoln, NE (November 13, 2020) Lincoln’s Covid Risk Dial remains in the red category for the coming week. The City County Health Department reported another 161 cases of the virus were confirmed today. Over the past 15 days, Lancaster County has averaged 196 new cases each day. No new deaths were reported today, leaving the toll at 57.
At the Mayor’s weekly briefing on Covid today, Derrick Vance, CEO of CHI Health, said patients with the virus have doubled and tripled in various units on their hospitals. Their intensive care and general care beds are filling rapidly, he said. Also, all staff members are being asked to work longer hours to care for the increased patient load. “They are exhausted” he said. “They have been at this for nine months, and they are tired.”
“If the current trend for of higher demand for hospital beds continues, the demand may exceed our supply” Vance said. He added that many elective surgeries for non-urgent cases are being delayed.
“We have to slow the spread”, he said, “or our hospitals will be taxed beyond our capacity.”
Russ Gronewold, head of Bryan Health, said he is both discouraged and hopeful.
“We’ve doubled our Covid patient numbers in the past two weeks” he said. “At Bryan we are at 25% of our beds filled with Covid patients”. He said Bryan would do only urgent surgeries starting Monday. Operations such as hysterectomies and even heart valve replacements will be delayed because of the capacity issues. “We’re finding a way to fulfill Covid needs by compromising the needs in other areas.”
Gronewold also said he is hopeful, because vaccines by Pfizer and Moderno are close to being ready. He added, however, that the public needs to wear masks and follow the guidance for avoiding Covid and other health issues.