Available hospital beds drop in Nebraska as virus cases rise

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The latest state health figures show the number of hospital beds available in Nebraska has dropped below 40% as the state continues to see more COVID-19 cases confirmed.

As of Thursday, 2,330 of the state’s total 3,834 hospital beds were occupied, according to the state’s online coronavirus tracker. That left 1,504, or 39%, of hospital beds available.

The site also shows that 43% of intensive care unit beds and 78% of ventilators in the state were available. The state saw another 125 cases of the virus reported on Thursday, to take the state’s total to 18,346. There also were three new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state’s total to 260 deaths from the virus since the outbreak began.

The new numbers came as Gov. Pete Ricketts warned on Thursday that the state could see a spike in new cases if residents don’t continue to take safety precautions like wearing masks in public places and keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from other people.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness.