According to a report from the Daily Beast, Nebraska health officials and the public are frightened about the sudden surge of coronavirus cases in the state and are furious with Republican Gov. Peter Ricketts for being one of the few governors in the country to refuse to issue stay at home orders.
The report notes that Grand Island in Hall County has, for some reason, been hit hard with COVID-19 cases which have alarmed not only residents in the area but health officials who have been asking for additional restrictions beyond shutting down schools and banning gatherings of more than 10 people.
While noting that Nebraska is in the bottom ten of states hit with coronavirus infections, health officials in the state are worried about an increase of cases if Grand Island is any indication.
“Hall County, which encompasses the city, has reported 197 COVID-19 cases—a per capita rate six times the statewide average. There have been four deaths, according to the state health department, and verified exposure in three nursing homes. Testing over the course of the last several days showed a positive rate of 20 to 25 percent, according to health officials,” the report states.
According to Teresa Anderson, director of the Central District Health Department, “Our numbers have been increasing rapidly. Now we have to assume… the COVID virus is everywhere.”
Despite that, the governor is already making plans to re-open the state by the end of the month.
“Reopening sit-down restaurants and bars may be a part of that,” Ricketts, stated last Wednesday. “As we get into this toward the end of the month, we’ll be re-evaluating where we are with regard to where the virus is and making those decisions.”
That has one Grand Island resident furious.
According to 64-year-old Henry Anderson who stated that he is at high risk of contracting the virus, “He’s just like Trump, he’s followed Trump, don’t matter if it’s good for Nebraska or not.”
Comparing his governor to Colorado’s Gov. Jared Polis, who reacted quickly to shutting the state down and slowing the COVID-19 spread, Anderson added, “And what’d Ricketts do? Nothing… He’s not doing enough and hasn’t done it soon enough.”
“One thing Ricketts did do was dispatch the National Guard to Grand Island for drive-through testing, but the capacity is only 75 tests for each of five days. First responders and health-care professionals got priority, followed by people in homeless shelters, and residents who have been diagnosed by their doctors solely on the basis of their symptoms,” the report added “Those 375 tests did not begin to touch the demand in Grand Island. And without more testing, authorities won’t know how many people are actually infected and what the health care infrastructure could be facing in the coming weeks.”
Daily Beast: Nebraskans in Virus Hot Zone ‘Terrified’ After Governor Rejects Stay-at-Home Order
Raw Story: Furious Nebraskans blame GOP governor for surge in COVID-19 cases after refusal to issue stay at home order
Featured and Top Image Courtesy Of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License