Record number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators in Omaha area

Hospitals in the Omaha, Neb., area are reporting a record number of COVID-19 patients who are on ventilators, according to a report by KETV Omaha

The station reported that 57 people were on ventilators as of Tuesday, the highest number of people in the Omaha area since the start of the pandemic. Nearly a year ago on Dec. 7, KETV said 56 people in the area were on ventilators.

That was at one of the worst points in the coronavirus crisis in the United States and before vaccines were widely available, which gives a sense of the degree to which Omaha is now facing a serious public health problem. 

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The Omaha metro area has 274 people, including 10 children, who are hospitalized with COVID-19, including 93 adults who are in the ICU, according to KETV. That has left the area nearing its ICU capacity, with just 28 staffed beds available in the six counties that comprise the Omaha metro, reports KETV. 

Pediatric ICU beds are occupied at a 90 percent level with only 13 staffed beds available for children in need of them. 

According to data from The New York Times, 59 percent of people in Douglas County — where Omaha is located — are fully vaccinated, which is 2 percentage points higher than the Nebraska state vaccination rate of 57 percent. 

Douglas County has seen a 29 percent increase in hospitalizations in the past two weeks and a 21 percent increase in case rates in the same duration. The daily average of COVID-19 deaths in the state of Nebraska is one person a day, which is down 56 percent from rates in the last two weeks.