Gov. Ricketts notes decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 9:47 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - During his update Monday morning, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said some of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine had arrived, but encouraged continued caution during the holiday season.

The news comes as cases and hospitalizations are trending downward for the state, which prompted him to downgrade COVID-19 restrictions across the state on Saturday, allowing elective surgeries to resume more people to attend extracurricular events, and for indoor capacity limits to move from 25% to 50%. Currently, Nebraska has 692 hospitalized with COVID-19.

Despite the decline, the governor urged Nebraskans to continue practicing social distancing and wearing face masks when that isn’t possible. Ricketts also suggested Nebraskans sign up for a test ahead of the Christmas holiday just as they did before Thanksgiving, especially since so many cases are asymptotic.

DMV appointments

While DMV offices are requiring face coverings and social distancing, limiting the number of people allowed in facilities, and making sure to sanitize surfaces, Rhonda Lam, the state’s DMV director, said they are working to accommodate those with additional concerns. She encouraged those ages 72 and older who are working to limit their exposure but must get their licenses renewed before the end of the year to call 402-471-3861 to schedule an appointment.

The Nebraska DMV is also offering some extended hours.

Mental-health awareness

Nebraskans also heard from Bishop James Conley of the Lincoln archdiocese and Sheri Dawson, behavioral health director at the state department of Health and Human Services, who each had messages about taking care of mental health.

Conley urged Nebraskans to focus on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine as a sign of hope during the season of Advent, even while our mental health continues to be tested during the pandemic.

Dawson encouraged keeping connected with loved ones during the holidays through phone calls and letters or virtual gatherings.

Watch Monday’s news conference

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