The state has moved to Phase 2B of its COVID-19 vaccination timeline, meaning anyone over age 16 is eligible for a shot.
The lab at Creighton University Medical Center will be the third in the state to sequence positive tests to look for variants.
CHI Health, Bryan Health, Nebraska Neurosurgery Group and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska all have projects in the south part of the city.
Jenna Fuller and her mom, Amanda Fuller, are holding a livestream event Friday evening to celebrate Jenna’s successes over the years and thank the NICU nurses at CHI St. Elizabeth who took care of her after she was born prematurely.
Nurses have until March 13 to join if they were assigned on-call work at one or more of 15 CHI facilities from Dec. 17, 2017, through the present.
With limited supplies, distribution of the vaccine to the general public is on hold, but people can sign up.
Lancaster County still needs about 6,000 vaccine doses to complete the initial priority group and is scheduled to get another 3,900 next week, officials said. So it could be February before Phase 1B vaccinations begin.
Dr. Cary Ward, CHI Health’s chief medical officer, said the event is planned for Friday.
By the end of the day Monday, Bryan had already given more than 600 employees their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Though Nebraska avoided a spike in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving, one could still occur if people let their guard down, especially on New Year's Eve, two infectious disease specialists say.
Cases are down more than 50% in the past two weeks in Lancaster County, but testing has fallen nearly 40% during the same time frame. Positivity rates have remained steady around 27%.
The county's seven-day rolling daily average of cases has dropped by more than half in less than two weeks. On Dec. 5, the average was 302 daily cases. As of Thursday, it was 146.
Bryan Health and CHI Health are continuing to vaccinate employees and have restarted elective surgeries.
The vaccine is a "light at the end of the tunnel," said a pulmonologist with Bryan Health who received the vaccine Monday, "but I think we still have a relatively long tunnel to get through."
Nebraska expects to receive its first shipment of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech by Monday, and another vaccine from Moderna should be shipping out before the end of the year.
Bryan Health is expecting about 3,000 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine, while CHI Health said it should get about 5,800, with 975 designated for St. Elizabeth in Lincoln.
CHI Health officials say they could start vaccinating staff as early as the week of Dec. 14, while Bryan Health officials say they should know within a couple of days when they will receive vaccines.
CHI Health is hiring temporary workers to do a variety of tasks to free up hospital staff so that they can focus on more acute issues.
The health system said it will begin giving infusions of Bamlanivimab, which was recently given emergency approval, to qualified patients starting Friday.
"Unfortunately, when you have to cut back on (elective) surgeries, you can't just take a surgical nurse or surgeon per se and throw them into the ICU," a Bryan official said.
Many local and state health officials believe a statewide mask mandate would help to lower COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, which have skyrocketed in recent weeks.
The chief medical officers of CHI Health, Methodist Health and Nebraska Medicine all say COVID-19 hospitalizations could double in the next couple of weeks if people don't start following mitigation measures.
If there's good news, it's that the death rate has not spiked at the same rate of cases overall.