Gov. Pete Ricketts said Wednesday the state is "looking at how we can provide additional resources to hospitals" as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the state.
Hospitalizations reached a new high of 315 patients Tuesday. They were at 311 Wednesday night, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services dashboard.
There were 924 new coronavirus cases reported Wednesday, bringing the state total to 54,467. With three deaths Wednesday, the number of COVID-related deaths rose to 530.
Lancaster County reported 58 hospitalizations, including 30 residents of the county.
Ricketts said he will be in conversation with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and hospitals to "determine what their needs are" while continuing to monitor and evaluate the challenge.
Earlier this month, UNMC scientists and physicians warned that the state is entering "a dangerous period" in the pandemic with record numbers of new cases and hospitalization.
"It is a potential perfect storm," they wrote in a statement released at a news conference in Omaha.
Although the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department remains concerned about the number of new cases, rate of transmission and number of hospitalizations, officials stress that Lincoln hospitals continue to have the capacity to treat new COVID patients and others needing in-patient care.
Coronavirus cases increased by 94 in Lancaster County on Wednesday, but local health officials didn't report any new virus-related deaths. The pandemic case total rose to 7,714, including 3,380 documented recoveries.
In other COVID-related remarks, Ricketts said at a news conference that White House health care officials with whom he has recently spoken have made no mention indicating they are embracing a so-called "herd immunity" policy of dealing with the virus.
National news reports suggest that the theory of allowing the virus to spread freely among healthy young people while keeping the economy functioning has gained some support in the Trump administration.
In his recent phone conversation with White House officials, including coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, the governor said "no such policy" was mentioned.
"We continue to work on how to mitigate spread of the virus," Ricketts said.
In answer to a question, the governor said he believes "we can manage Halloween" this year with some adjustments that limit interaction and provide protections while still observing the traditional holiday.
Answering a question prompted by the recent arrest of a number of men charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in retaliation for her efforts to fight the coronavirus, Ricketts said there have been "no threats to me" and he believes he is securely protected by the Nebraska State Patrol.
Ricketts called the news conference to spotlight state government's new Center of Operational Excellence and the improved delivery of state services that he has instituted as governor.
The changes have provided "a better customer experience for taxpayers" as they deal with state government, he said.
"Over the last several years, we've seen great success running state government more like a business," the governor stated in a new weekly column that coincided with the news conference.
No Football Saturday
Lincoln Southwest volunteer
Mother/son art project
UNL in-person class
Farmers Market influencers
Soccer With Masks
Weeping Water vs. Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan
Back to UNL
First day of middle school
First day of school
Pius X volleyball practice
City Council BLM protest
Rally and hearing
Mask Video DeLones
Lincoln High School readiness days
Lancaster County Super Fair
LPS board meeting
Meatpacking workers rally
Lincoln Northeast graduation
Gov. Ricketts address Legislature
Drive-thru Bible School
LPS virus teachers
Shrine Bowl, 7.11
Make A Wish
Masked Archie the Mammoth
First Jury Trial in Four Months
Lincoln Children's Museum Reopening
Community Learning Center
Lincoln Community Playhouse
The Kindler Hotel
Garth Brooks Drive-In Concert
Urban Air Adventure Park
Gere Branch Library
Music on the Move
Bars Opening in Lincoln
LPS Teachers Retirement
Holmes Lake Manor Horse Visit
Lancaster County Courthouse
Church Social Distancing
Boys and Girls Club food distribution
Children of Smithfield
Parkview Christian Teacher Appreciation Day
Signs on South 16th
Reopening Hair Salon
Lincoln Christian 2020 Seniors
Test Nebraska site
Drive-Thru Career Fair
Center for People In Need food distribution
Former Cop Birthday Drive-by
Masks For Truckers
O Street cruising
Bryan Mobile Testing
Teacher and Staff Parade
Air and Army National Guard COVID-19 testing
Thanks to LJS
Eagle with PPE
COVID-19 State Employee Union
Herbie Husker Runzas
Virtual City Council
Drive-by Easter egg hunt
Watch: Lincoln neighbors sing 'The Old Rugged Cross'
Good Friday Music
Masks on a walk
Watch: A timelapse of the mural at Saro Cider
COVID-19 Workplace Safety
Watch: Steffany Lien twirls at birthday party
Shirts for FEMA
Watch: Hand sanitizer rolls off Innovation Campus assembly line
No fun here
Wildlife Safari Park
Nursing Home Horses
Tower Square sign
Noyes Art Gallery
Free ice cream
Coronavirus Testing CHI
Free lunch for truckers
WATCH: Celebrating a birthday with a parade
Restaurant takeout and delivery
Barber Shop Restrictions
Virus Nursing Homes
Simpsons in the windows
Virus Outbreak Nebraska
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing
UNL Beekeeping virtual class
Lincoln Lutheran Online Teaching
St. Patrick's Day
LPS Chromebook pickup
UNL Moving Out
Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @LJSdon
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