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More health districts shifting to Phase 1B vaccination; Lancaster & Douglas Counties shift likely next week

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 9:48 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2021 at 11:10 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - During a Monday morning press conference, Governor Pete Ricketts shared that more than 636,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered through TestNebraska.

Governor Ricketts says in total, statewide, Nebraska has crossed the 2 million mark when it comes to the number of COVID-19 tests that have been administered throughout the state.

During Governor Ricketts’ press conference, he reminded Nebraskans that we are still in a pandemic and it’s critical we continue safety precautions such as wearing masks when out in the community, maintain 6 feet of distance, washing hands and if you’re feeling sick staying home.

Related: Vaccinate Nebraska: “Prioritize 65 and older during Phase 1B”

He also emphasized people 65-years-old and older who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to contact their doctor or physician to see if they could receive treatments, such as receiving COVID-19 convalescent plasma, in advance as a way to reduce the number of hospital stays.

Governor Ricketts said over the weekend hospitalizations dropped below 10 percent, there are currently 292 people hospitalized because of the virus. There are currently 36 percent beds available, 35 percent ICU beds availability, and 76 percent ventilator availability.

He said the state has now fallen below the ‘green line’ which means if the state has a seven day average, Nebraska will drop below to the ‘green category’ meaning most restrictions will be removed. Though, Governor Ricketts, stresses that even though we’re below the ‘green line’ not to let our safety guards down. He stressed that Nebraskans continue being safe by wearing masks and other precautions.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Governor Ricketts said 15 out of 19 Nebraska’s health districts have moved into Phase 1B of the vaccination plan. He expects two more counties should move to Phase 1B this week and that Lancaster and Douglas Counties will move into Phase 1B the first week in February, which includes vaccinating people ages 65 and older.

When it comes to vaccine distribution, Governor Ricketts explained that vaccine quantities are based on the population that’s being impacted. He said Douglas County will receive 6,650 COVID-19 vaccines every week for the next several weeks, where as Lancaster County will receive 3,900 vaccines. Governor Ricketts said instead of shifting vaccines from one county to another, those health departments will simply work on vaccinating the next group rather than send vaccines to other counties.

When asked if Governor Ricketts favors President Biden’s plan for 100 FEMA COVID-19 vaccine sites throughout the country, and having one in Nebraska, Governor Ricketts said the state can benefit most from simply having more vaccines. He explained that in emergencies it should be handled through locally executed, state managed and federally supported.

Governor Ricketts said the state is receiving 11,800 doses a week of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, in combination with the 23,000 Pfizer doses.

There has been a slow-down, according to Governor Ricketts, when it comes to the Federal Pharmacy Program, where it’s taking time banking COVID-19 vaccines to get out to CVS and Walgreens.

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