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Doctors: COVID-19 protocols should not end anytime soon

Vaccines, vigilance key to avoiding a ‘fourth wave,’ UNMC experts say
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 7:42 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As the country races to vaccinate more people against the coronavirus, experts and doctors are reminding community members that we must remain vigilant to overcome the pandemic.

“Many of us are looking forward to the day when we have much more normal looking classrooms and workplaces but that day is not today,’ says UNMC professor and infectious disease expert Dr. Mark Rupp.

Before COVID-19 came into our lives, it wasn’t uncommon for employees and students to work through a cold. But in this pandemic-era reality, Dr. Rupp says he hopes those days remain in the past.

“I hope that employers have forward-looking HR policies on the books that allow people who are sick to stay home and get better,” he tells 6 News.

Major offices in Omaha, like Woodmen Life, say they’re holding off on inviting all employees back to the office until the fall. But for small businesses, that’s not necessarily an option.

Mimina Peters owns Merle Norman Cosmetics in Dundee. She says she will take any precautions to ensure the safety of her customers if it means they simply come back.

“I spray with alcohol, everything I mean, I don’t know what else to do. We need people to come back, we need to go back to “normal,”” she says.

The hair and beauty industries were hit especially hard when the pandemic began, and so were movie theatres.

Patrick Kinney with Film Streams and the Dundee Theatre say it’s worth the extra cleaning efforts to make sure there customers are comfortable and to provide them with an experience that has been greatly missed throughout the pandemic.

“We’re going to do extra sanitizing and cleanliness measures, all of our staff do daily wellness checks, we are going to make sure there’s only one group at a time in the theatre so there’s no double booking or groups coming in and out,” Kinney says.

So when can we take a step back from these strict protocols and think about returning back to pre-pandemic efforts? Dr. Rupp says to stay vigilant, because it’s not soon.

“When we get to a point where there’s very few cases of COVID in the community and what I mean by that is maybe one case per one hundred thousand so we’re only seeing a handful of cases in Douglas county per day, then I think that people can relax a lot more,” he says.

But for now, its a race between the highly contagious variants and the vaccine. Dr. Rupp says to continue wearing your mask, avoid crowds and get your vaccine when it’s your turn so we can all avoid a fourth wave.

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