Melissa Wheeler, Farm Bureau

The North Bend Eagle


It is over?

by Nathan Arneal
Published 5/26/21

On Monday [May 21, 2021] , Governor Pete Ricketts announced that Nebraska’s Directed Health Measures would expire at midnight that night – one week earlier than originally scheduled – and it would not be replaced with a new DHM. Requirements to quarantine and isolate will no longer be in effect.

Ricketts said Nebraska has been successful in controlling the spread of the COVID-19 so that the state’s hospital capacity was never threatened. On Monday, 73 people statewide were in the hospital because of COVID-19, less than 2% of the state’s overall hospital capacity, and the lowest number since Nebraska began tracking hospitalizations in April 2020.

Ricketts also announced that he was canceling several executive orders signed last year to deal with the pandemic.

“We are not going to require masks anymore,” Ricketts said. “Certainly if somebody wants to wear a mask, that is their personal choice, but we are encouraging all organizations to set aside those pandemic rules and move forward as a state.”

The governor urged Nebraskans to continue to get vaccinated. Over 53% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated, and over 60% has received at least one vaccine dose.

“I want to thank all Nebraskans for what they have done over the last 15 months,” Ricketts said, “for the sacrifices they have made to be able to help slow the spread of the virus, preserve our hospital capacity and help us live a more normal life. Now it is time to return to normalcy.”

The governor said Monday would be his final coronavirus briefing.

Since April 15, 2020, the Eagle has run the blue info box showing the current stats related to the virus. Actually, in the beginning the box was gray since it was begun before the Eagle started printing in color last summer. That’s 59 straight weeks with the info box and a column of COVID-19 information and news in the Eagle, running all but of few times on the front page.

After this week, we will cease running the weekly COVID update.
Of course, COVID-19 is not completely gone, and it may never be, but it is certainly under control. In the week ending Monday, Dodge County reported eight new cases, giving the county single-digit new cases in consecutive weeks for the first time since April 2020. Saunder County reported just a single new case last week.

The Eagle will continue to update its COVID-19 page on when appropriate.

The disease may still linger for a while, but with all restrictions lifted and events allowing 100% attendance again, it does appear that the pandemic has ended.

Everybody please join me in knocking on wood.


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