If hospitalizations keep level, state will loosen some restrictions

Eufemia Didonato

Gov. Ricketts: If hospitalizations keep level, state will loosen some restrictions



Well, good morning, everybody. Thank you for joining us on our press briefing with regard to the state’s response to the pandemic. We appreciate you joining us. We have We’re gonna have a guest here in a moment. Mel McNair, who is the CEO of Great Plains Health in North Platte. But before that, I just want to remind people that again with the pandemic, we need people to continue to practice all of the good tools that we’ve given you with regard to keeping that 6 ft of distance between you and other people washing your hands often 22nd set of time that actually kills the virus. Wear a mask when you go in the store. Uh, make sure that you’re working from home. If you can certainly stay home If you’re sick, everybody your household needs to stay home is well. Make sure you’re not preventing the spread of the virus. Go get tested and confirm you don’t have coronavirus. But if you were sick, please stay home. That’s gonna be important. Obviously, with the holiday season, a lot of people going shopping. Please go shopping by yourself. Don’t take the whole family with you if you’re going grocery shopping. Just go once a week and again leave the kids at home go by yourself. So these are all things that we can do to help slow down the spread of the virus, of course. Also avoid the three C’s. Those confined spaces, crowded places, close contact. It’s a virus spreads from one person to another. So if you can avoid those, you’ll slow down the spread of the virus as well. That’s particularly important that we think about the holiday season and tradition. We have holiday parties. Good idea to maybe postpone those till sometimes later next year, or if you’re gonna have them having smaller groups of people and again if you’re gonna have people together. Wearing mask is always gonna be helpful to slowing the spread of the virus. So please remember those things. Uh, look, folks, nobody wants to be sick over the holidays when you may be spending time with your families. Nobody wants. Certainly wants to be in the hospital. You don’t even wanna be quarantined. So slow down right now is going to be the best thing to do to be able to avoid being in quarantine or being sick over the holiday. So please remember that also all of this, what we’re doing is to make sure we preserve our hospital capacity. We’ve got 28% of our hospital beds are available today, 26% of our I C U beds and 70% of our ventilators. We are also seeing it 779 hospitalizations. Right now, we’re gonna right up here on the board, and that’s been pretty stable for the last week. And that’s been stable below our level of 20%. So if we have one more day today of being at that level below 20% are seven day rolling average will have been below 20%. And that means we will move from our orange phase two are yellow phase. So you may recall, about a month ago November 13th, we published our chart. You can actually see the lines on the chart here, right? You can see red, orange yellow dropping down to blue and then green at the bottom. Those represent different increments. So 25% above is red. 20 to 25% is the orange. 15 to 20% were in that category right now. and have been for almost a week is the yellow. And if we continue to stay there, then we will be going into that yellow phase two. Re loose, relaxing those restrictions. So that’s potential. That could be as early as 12 01 AM tomorrow morning if we If we see a day now, if it jumps up a bunch, that could change that. But if we stay stable at 12 01 tomorrow morning, we’re going to yellow. And so even though we’re going to yellow, we remind people that we still have the virus in the community. You still need to continue to practice all the rules that we’ve been talking about with regard to the pandemic and slowing things down. But if we’re going to yell, that will, for example, allow for elective surgeries if a hospital could maintain 10% of capacity, I know that’s an important point right now is people have deductibles and are trying to get those end of the year surgeries in All right, So, uh, no way that we can help slow the spread the virus is take advantage of test Nebraska dot com. We have had over 576,000 Nebraskans sign up for test Nebraska dot com. We have delivered over 513,000 tests. Three test Nebraska dot com Our turnaround time for the last seven days has been about 30 hours, so we’re getting those test turned around quickly. A friend of mine told me he got tested and they turned his test around 18 hours. So we’re really turning that around very quickly. So test Nebraska is a great way, especially you’re gonna go see friends or family, a great opportunity to get tested, make sure that you don’t have it. That’s a great way to be able to help slow down the spread of the virus. So test Nebraska dot com is a great please sign up and get tested. And we’ve got we expect we announced this week we’re expanding test lots here in Lincoln, for example. So we’ve got lots of capacity, so please look for that. All right. So as we’ve talked about, all the precautions we have taken have been to slow down the spread of the virus and preserve our hospital capacity to make sure we could preserve ent that provide that hospital bed that I see you bed that ventilator to anybody who needed it when they need it. Now we have treated as a strategy. The entire state of Nebraska is one big hospital system. And so we have set up a transfer center to be able to move patients from one hospital to another or even one region to another. If it was necessary to make sure we could balance the load about how Maney covert patients that hospitals were taken. One of the great partners in that has been melmotte nay at Great Plains. They have just been a tremendous partner, always willing to step up, be able to help out. When we you may recall, early on this pandemic, we were looking at increasing hospitalizations in cases in Lexington, Nebraska. Mel, who is the CEO of Great Plains, has worked very diligently with us. He set up a couple of ambulances and a helicopter to be able to make sure we could transfer patients out of Lexington if necessary. He’s been willing to take patients from long term care facilities. Uh, really flex his hospital staff and capacity up. He’s really just been a tremendous partner and and frankly, we have seen that kind of cooperation from all of our hospital systems here. But Mel has just been tremendous with regard to that yet. Can you get him on their Ryan? Uh, I’m saying all these nice things about Mel can you hear even hear me, Milieu, Hearing all the nice things I’m saying about you. Good, Good. Before I get done here also, I gotta recognize you. You were named Rural Hospital of the Year two years in a row. Now, that’s one of only 19 hospitals across the entire nation and the only hospital in Nebraska. So congratulations on that designation. Yes. Um, we’re very thankful for our staff and their dedication to quality safe care. And I’d like to share with you on behalf of the staff of Great Plains Health. Thank you for your kind words. Who? We really appreciate it. Um And I wanna wish everybody a good morning. And I want to let you know that the spirit of the canteen and effort during World War two to provide nourishment toe all troops traveling through this community from the east to West coast is alive as healthcare organizations in west central Nebraska have partner to fight over 19 virus. This pandemic continues to challenge the way we deliver care as we gain more knowledge and have a better understanding of how the virus actually operates. Today, I’ve been asked to share some of the innovative changes implemented through the organization to ensure quality safe care in that rapidly changing environment. Before I do, I want to thank Governor Ricketts and Dr Antone for their leadership in helping organizations like Great Plains Health deal with the impact of over 19. They’ve been great partners and I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. The organization early on in this pandemic implemented an interdisciplinary team approach to clinical care within the facility. We have timely communication regarding the status of all of our patients and making sure re sources are available to our nursing that we actually meet daily on. Discuss every patient within the organization, whether they’re cove it positive or not, that timely discussion helps us to remove barriers for care and processes, and a member of that team is a member of our administrative team assigned to do those times. You follow ups early on our er physicians during this last spike identified a type of patient that could use oxygen and then oximeter tree in their home. And we were able to avoid admissions into the hospital when, UH, beds were scarce for a period of time. We follow up those patients up with our care coordinators to make sure that they’re safe and that they’re recovering appropriately. Uh, providers with Great Plains medicine are great. Plains Health have also participated in a wide variety of trial and research medication, including this Savile, which reduces the length of stay and ventilator usage within our organization. We also had a team of staff facilitating the giving a monoclonal antibody drugs in the nursing homes and in the outpatient setting Pearl is a preliminary results are really encouraging. We’ve seen a decrease in admission and reduction in the length of state for those patients receiving that medication. Staff have also engaged with family and patients at a different level. I’m talking about desired a course of care and actually facilitated end of life discussions and need if there’s a need for palliative care when appropriate. Leadership has also worked closely with our critical access partners in the region to manage the volume of patients needing treatment, and I want to compliment those facilities that worked with us. It was a bidirectional flow of patients. I’d like to acknowledge the hospitals in Lexington, Ogallala, Cook, Grant Valentine, Gothenburg for their willingness to work with us and set aside barriers to meet the spike in the mission. We recently experienced leadership work collaboratively with nursing homes in our region, and we do that all the time, but more so and more frequently here. Lately, we helped establish a CO 19 unit within one of the nursing homes, which allowed residents in other nursing homes that tested positive to quickly be relocated to this unit and soft to spread in the healthy units or nursing homes. Dr. Fridays are infectious disease physician has provided consult with area providers to ensure safe quality care and continuity of care throughout the region as patients recover. The new challenge we’re facing is referrals to rehab centers for recovery. Some of these patients have been, uh, in the bed for over 20 to 25 days or on a ventilator. We noticed the need and the the difficulty and referring to rehab facilities. So starting Monday, our rehab staff will start initiating processes that are usually occur in a rehab facility upon admission of our patients so that we can reduce the need for long term rehab transfers. Um, those are a few of the things that we’re doing, Governor Rick Records. And I wanna thank you for letting me share some of those, uh and, uh, some of what’s going on as we continue to fight this, uh, 19 across the state. Thank you. Great. Hey. Well, thank you very much. Mel again, you and your team have just done a fantastic job. And I am just personally grateful for all your efforts of you and your team to be able to help make sure we’re taking care of Nebraskans and just the flexibility, the innovation. Everything you’ve done has been very impressive. Do you have a few minutes to take some questions? We’ve got some. If you’ve got time, we can ask Weaken, do things a little differently this morning and take some questions here if you’ve got the opportunity. Well, do you have time? E o. Okay. Great. Great. So, uh, we’re gonna change things up a little bit today. Um, we’re gonna ask if anybody here in the room has any questions for Mel. And if there’s any anybody who’s online and wants Thio email them in, they could do that real quick to or text him into. Justin, You got a question, Justin specifically from now. Alright, Andrew, have you heard when you will get taxi? I just want to questions from l. Okay. Okay. Sorry. So Andrew is asking what you have heard about receiving vaccines. When are we will distributing the vaccine? I’m sorry. They’re a little bit of echo there, but yes, we’re hoping that we will receive the vaccine the first part of the week. We’re working with our partners at West Central Health District to make sure that we distribute that vaccine quickly and to use every vile that has been given to us. So yes, Andrew. Yeah, way yellow. And what So And he’s asking you, what does it mean to potentially be one day away from moving from orange to yellow? And what does that mean? The hospitals right now moving into a different color indicates that we’re gonna be able to perform or elective surgeries. We still will be monitoring our beds closely to ensure that we have beds for our acute patients because we are also treating individuals with stroke heart attacks. Ah, lot of cute issues that we cover a 17 county area provide those services too. And so we monitor that on a daily basis and we adjust our surgeries accordingly, just not for Cove in 19, but for other critical care that we need to provide. Fred. Is he experienced people staying away thing. Have you experienced other patients? Maybe with heart conditions staying away from the hospital because of coronavirus? We’ve been tracking our volumes and we’ve trended it. Over the last year, we’ve made an aggressive approach and a marketing approach to ensure that people come back into our clinic so that our er is not overrun. Currently, what we’re seeing is we’re treating the same volume of patients that we were treating back in January and February. So we’re starting to see patients come back. We’ve also created ah lot of opportunities for the patients in position interaction through telehealth, and we have a wide telehealth network that allows the patients also received their care through telehealth. Ah, lot of our psychiatrists are actually doing their consulates through telehealth that And did you have another question? Right, But as faras All right, See that? Yeah, he entered Worried that first. So what Andrew Ozaki is asking is have you seen a change of people’s attitude as we’ve been in orange now for almost a month? And are you concerned that if you have seen a change that people are being more careful that they may not be as careful now that we’re going into yellow? You know, I think we have to continue Thio market and also share what? How we can keep each other safe from this. Uh oh, but 19. I think our medical staff have been really, uh, instrumental and sharing that message with their patient. I think we need to continue that. I don’t think there will be a letdown. Hopefully not because there’s a lot of factors to this and people conceal. Uh, yet cove in 19, if they’re not vaccinated or just through normal spread. So I think I’m hoping that we see, uh, decrease in Kobe 19 admissions, and we continue this trim. All right, Justin, you got a question for, uh, you just tell me. I’ll repeat it so we can hear up the world Herald How much they want to reduce the hospital admission during oxygen. So Paul handle the Omaha World Herald would like to know how much have you been able to reduce hospital admissions by by using your oxygen in the home by administering oxygen in the home? I think we haven’t had chance to really track that data yet. Antidote Aly our ER physicians are really, uh, conscientious on who they allowed to use the oxygen at home. And we also provide the ox symmetry, which allows them to measure their level. And then our care coordinators air calling on a routine basis to these patients. But what I will tell you, it’s been enough patients that have allowed us to admit critical patients and not have to transfer them. Currently, right now, we have received patients as far away or transferred to us as far away as Oklahoma. Eso we’ve been able to not only meet the needs of North Platte, but also the needs of some of the surrounding states to that Aaron desperate situation. We have had to transfer patients from North Platte early on in the spike of this last spike that occurred But a lot of those patients were transferred to our critical access partners so we could maintain ah, level of beds with a higher acuity treating those more severe Kobe 19 patient. That data should be coming out, and I’d be happy to share it. Any other questions from, uh, Andrea? Anybody else? Questions for Mel Mel again. I just can’t tell you how impressed I am with you and your organization. You have done a fantastic job. Please. We’ll tell your team how great before we are for all their long hours, uh, taking care of our coronavirus patients as well as the other patients they take care of. You guys have been doing a fantastic job, and we very much appreciate it. We know we still got months work left ahead of us, but we’re very excited now that this vaccine is hopefully gonna be coming to us next week. And that’s really kind of light at the end of the tunnel. So we work. Look forward to working with you with regard to that vaccine. Mhm. Okay,

Gov. Ricketts: If hospitalizations keep level, state will loosen some restrictions


On Friday morning, Gov. Pete Ricketts held news conference to provide an update on the work Nebraska is doing to slow the spread of coronavirus and protect hospitals. The governor began by asking people to avoid the 3 C’s: confined spaces, crowded places and close contact. He also urged people to postpone holiday parties and try to be safe when shopping, whether by doing so online or going alone. Ricketts said more than 576,000 Nebraskans have signed up for Test Nebraska. He said Test Nebraska is turning test results around in about 30 hours. He said hospitalizations have leveled out at 779 after a spike in November nearly hit 1,000. Ricketts said 70% of ventilators are available, while there is 28% of hospital availability and 26% of ICU beds available.He said if we keep COVID-19 hospitalizations down, we are one day away from going from “orange” to “yellow” and loosening some restrictions.”That’s been pretty stable for the last week. And that’s been stable below our level of 20%. So if we have one more day today, of being at that level below 20%, our seven day rolling average will have been below 20%, and that means we will move from our orange phase to our yellow,” he said.If Nebraska moves to yellow, hospitals will be able to perform elective surgeries. Other changes will include: Extracurriculars not be limited to households, indoor capacity moves from 25% to 50% and six-foot separation at indoor events is guidance, rather than in law. Mel McNea with Great Plains Health was invited to speak. Ricketts raised McNea for his flexibility in battling the pandemic in rural areas and said Great Plains Health was named rural hospital of the year for two years in a row.”He’s been willing to take patients from long-term care facilities. Really flexes hospital staff and capacity. He’s really just been a tremendous partner in, and frankly, we have seen that kind of cooperation from all of our hospital systems here but Mel has just been tremendous,” he said. McNea said that health officials are working with nursing homes more frequently. He said they worked to set up a COVID-19 unit in one nursing home so they could isolate sick people and keep the virus from spreading.He said they have also participated in drug trials. He said they have been able to give patients oxygen in their home, in order to preserve hospital beds for those that are more seriously ill.McNea said they are expecting to receive the first batch of vaccines early next week. He said they have received patients from as far away as Oklahoma.

On Friday morning, Gov. Pete Ricketts held news conference to provide an update on the work Nebraska is doing to slow the spread of coronavirus and protect hospitals.

The governor began by asking people to avoid the 3 C’s: confined spaces, crowded places and close contact. He also urged people to postpone holiday parties and try to be safe when shopping, whether by doing so online or going alone.

Ricketts said more than 576,000 Nebraskans have signed up for Test Nebraska. He said Test Nebraska is turning test results around in about 30 hours.

He said hospitalizations have leveled out at 779 after a spike in November nearly hit 1,000.

Ricketts said 70% of ventilators are available, while there is 28% of hospital availability and 26% of ICU beds available.

He said if we keep COVID-19 hospitalizations down, we are one day away from going from “orange” to “yellow” and loosening some restrictions.

“That’s been pretty stable for the last week. And that’s been stable below our level of 20%. So if we have one more day today, of being at that level below 20%, our seven day rolling average will have been below 20%, and that means we will move from our orange phase to our yellow,” he said.

If Nebraska moves to yellow, hospitals will be able to perform elective surgeries. Other changes will include: Extracurriculars not be limited to households, indoor capacity moves from 25% to 50% and six-foot separation at indoor events is guidance, rather than in law.

Mel McNea with Great Plains Health was invited to speak. Ricketts raised McNea for his flexibility in battling the pandemic in rural areas and said Great Plains Health was named rural hospital of the year for two years in a row.

“He’s been willing to take patients from long-term care facilities. Really flexes hospital staff and capacity. He’s really just been a tremendous partner in, and frankly, we have seen that kind of cooperation from all of our hospital systems here but Mel has just been tremendous,” he said.

McNea said that health officials are working with nursing homes more frequently. He said they worked to set up a COVID-19 unit in one nursing home so they could isolate sick people and keep the virus from spreading.

He said they have also participated in drug trials. He said they have been able to give patients oxygen in their home, in order to preserve hospital beds for those that are more seriously ill.

McNea said they are expecting to receive the first batch of vaccines early next week. He said they have received patients from as far away as Oklahoma.

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