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Doctors plead for vaccination as Nebraska hospitals remain strained

Doctors plead for vaccination as Nebraska hospitals remain strained
Doctors plead for vaccination as Nebraska hospitals remain strained(WBRC)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 9:02 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - There was palpable frustration coming from both the state and hospitals across the region on a call Wednesday afternoon surrounding the status of COVID-19.

This, as beds, ICUs, and ventilators continue to be filled up during what they’re calling the beginning of another expected surge.

Over the weekend, Nebraska’s COVID-19 positivity rate hit 12.2%.

On Wednesday, Nebraska reported 555 active COVID-19 hospitalizations, the highest number it’s hit since 2021 started. Those on the front lines said the trends they’re seeing in patients getting hospitalized are becoming predictable.

“It’s getting old when every single person that rolls through the door its like, yep unvaccinated again, shocker,” said Dr. Brian Boer, who works in the critical care unit at Nebraska Medicine.

It’s a trend that’s being mirrored in hospitals all over the state.

“I was just pulling up our census from the day and every single person in our ICU is a COVID patient,” said Dr. Adam Wells with Methodist Hospital in Omaha.

Nebraska’s State Epidemiologist, Dr. Matthew Donahue, presented data his agency has collected over the last two months.

He said that as a nation, the U.S. stopped making improvements when it comes to COVID-19 back in October.

It shows those who were not fully vaccinated are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19. Looking at it closer, 40 out of 100,000 unvaccinated Nebraskans will be hospitalized, as opposed to the four out of 100,000 vaccinated Nebraskans.

His data also shows those who are being hospitalized are skewing younger, in large part people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s choosing to not be vaccinated.

“Unvaccinated 30-year-olds are being hospitalized at similar rates as vaccinated individuals over 80,” Dr. Donahue said. “That’s Nebraska-specific data and that’s proof that younger people have a lot to benefit from vaccination.”

Nebraska vaccination data shows that those 65 and older are much more likely to be fully vaccinated. In fact, in every category that age and above upwards of about 90% or more are fully vaccinated. The same cannot be said for any category below 65.

“These young patients that are my age, I’m 36, that have kids and spouses that they’re leaving behind. It’s hard to watch,” said Dr. Robert Plambeck who works in critical care at CHI Health. “To see you know those families suffering like that and you know the sad thing is it didn’t have to be that way. They could have gotten vaccinated and not winded up in the ICU and dying on a ventilator.”

The state also presented data for those who were vaccinated and in hospitals. 55% of those patients were eligible for a booster shot and did not take advantage of it by the time they were hospitalized.

Healthcare officials said even with the emergence of the Omicron variant and its unknowns, your best bet is to still get a booster for the protection it can provide.

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