Nebraska Hospitals Say Strain Will Continue Even After COVID Cases Peak

Jan. 24, 2022, 2 p.m. ·

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Nebraska hospitals are feeling the strain of the omicron COVID-19 surge, and even though cases may be peaking, hospitalizations are expected to remain high.

COVID cases are dropping nationally and on much of the east coast. The 7-day average in Nebraska is up nearly 68% since the second week of January. Cases are still increasing, but the trend appears to be slowing. Statewide, hospitalizations also waned over the weekend – from 744 to 735.

Jeremy Nordquist, the Nebraska Hospital Association president, said it's possible the states' caseload peaks this week.

"Peaking and positivity and number of cases certainly isn't going to instantly relieve the pressure that our hospitals are facing," Nordquist said during a Monday news conference. "We're still in for a long haul here in terms of caring for Nebraskans in our hospitals."

COVID hospitalizations tend to lag behind the cases. Whenever cases start to slow down in Nebraska, hospitals will remain busier in the weeks after.

Dr. Manny Banner, the president and CEO at Memorial Community Hospital in Blair, said on Monday that, for the most part, hospitals have been able to manage the tough stretches of the pandemic – but the staff could be nearing the end of their capabilities.

"We take care of as many patients as we can on a day to day basis," Banner said. "Anything more is really going to start stressing our resources."

The recent staffing shortages could affect hospitals for a long time to come, she said.