Lindsay Huse considers declaring emergency mask warrant for Omaha

Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse plans to apply for an emergency mask warrant for the city of Omaha. The mandate would be city-wide for Omaha and would come into effect on Wednesday, January 12 at midnight. Douglas County Council of Commissioners meeting Tuesday. “We’re not doing everything we can to help contain this astronomical spike in cases,” Huse said. The health director plans to use his authority under the city code to order an emergency mask warrant, which would last four weeks when the health department returns. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts tweeted Tuesday that he remains “strongly opposed” to mask warrants. “I support Mayor Stothert’s priorities to reasonably manage the spread of COVID-19 in Omaha,” Ricketts said in a tweet. “The Douglas County Health Department does not have the legal authority to impose a warrant, and I have asked (Attorney General Doug) Peterson to consider legal action. Benchmarks for terminations include: the number of cases drops below 200 per 100,000 for a total of 7 days. “We expect the Omicron surge to diminish quickly,” Huse said. Hospital capacity in the metro is maintained at 85% or less for a week. “We have to give them a bit of a break,” Huse said. Omaha City Code 12-21 states: “The director of health shall take all necessary measures to prevent the introduction into the city of malignant, contagious and infectious diseases.” “This is not a decision that I have taken lightly and I know it will create waves,” Huse said. “It’s a tool in our toolkit. We have research that masks decrease transmission. I won’t argue that masks won’t stop the pandemic – but it will slow it down to give our siblings health sector the breathing space they need to take care of all of you. “Omaha City Council issued a statement supporting an emergency mask mandate for the city after Huse’s announcement.” The majority of Omaha City Council supports the decision of the Douglas County Health Director to implement a temporary mask mandate in the City of Omaha to help deal with the upsurge in COVID-19 cases and to help keep our schools, hospitals and first responders operational during this difficult time. We believe that Dr Huse clearly has this authority and we will continue to support the resources needed to increase testing rates and vaccination in our community. On Monday evening, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert released a statement explaining why she opposes a city-wide mask warrant. Rea, Douglas County is currently reporting 1,388.3 cases for 100,000 people in the past seven days and more than 400 hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Douglas County has reported more than 12,000 new cases of COVID-19 since the start of 2022. The positivity of the tests has also “considerably “increased in Douglas County,” Huse said. The county currently has a positivity rate of 30% and a breakthrough rate of 4%. The groundbreaking death rate is 0.02% for the county. Douglas County in intensive care has been over 90% for weeks. “Our healthcare system can’t sustain a peak like this,” Huse said. “I can’t stand idly by and do everything that we can. My integrity as a healthcare professional cannot stand idly by and watch this happen. I can’t watch and our hospitals can’t handle a huge increase in Omicron cases. “Almost 70% of Douglas County has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, for the 5-11 year old population in the county, 33.1% have received a dose and 24.4% are fully vaccinated. “This is not high enough to prevent widespread disease in this age group,” Huse said. Huse said that Douglas County was also exploring opportunities for more vaccination sites The health director also said the county was “potentially” working with Total Wellness for another testing site and “exploring” home testing.

Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse plans to apply for an emergency mask warrant for the city of Omaha.

The mandate would be city-wide for Omaha and would come into effect on Wednesday, January 12 at midnight. Huse announced the mask’s tenure at the Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday.

“We’re not doing everything we can to help contain this astronomical spike in cases,” Huse said.

The health director plans to use her authority under the city code to order an emergency mask warrant, which would last four weeks when the health department returns.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts tweeted tuesday that he remains “categorically opposed” to masked mandates.

“I support Mayor Stothert’s priorities to reasonably manage the spread of COVID-19 in Omaha,” Ricketts said in a tweet. “The Douglas County Department of Health does not have the legal authority to impose a warrant, and I have asked (Attorney General Doug) Peterson to consider legal action.”

Benchmarks for terminating the mandate include:

  • The number of cases drops below 200 per 100,000 for a total of 7 days. “We expect the Omicron surge to diminish quickly,” Huse said.
  • The metro’s hospital capacity is maintained at 85% or less for a week. “We have to give them a bit of a break,” Huse said.

Omaha City Code 12-21 states: “The director of health takes all necessary measures to prevent the introduction into the city of malignant, contagious and infectious diseases.

“It’s not a decision I took lightly, and I know it’s going to create waves,” Huse said. “It’s a tool in our toolkit. We have research that masks decrease transmission. I won’t argue that masks won’t stop the pandemic – but it will slow it down to give our siblings health care the breathing space they need to care for all of you. “

Omaha City Council issued a statement supporting an emergency mask mandate for the city following Huse’s announcement.

Majority of Omaha City Council Support Douglas County Health Director’s Decision to Implement Temporary Mask Mandate in Omaha City to Help Cope with Wave of COVID-19 Cases and to help keep our schools, hospitals and first responders operational during this difficult time. We believe that Dr Huse clearly has that authority and we will continue to support the resources needed to increase testing and vaccination rates in our community. “

On Monday evening, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert released a statement explaining why she is opposing a city-wide mask mandate.

As the Omicron variant increases in the Omaha region, Douglas County is currently reporting 1,388.3 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days and more than 400 hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Douglas County has reported more than 12,000 new cases of COVID-19 since the start of 2022.

The positivity of the tests has also “dramatically” increased in Douglas County, Huse said. The county currently has a 30% positivity rate and a 4% breakthrough rate. The revolutionary death rate is 0.02% for the county. Douglas County’s capacity for intensive care exceeded 90% for weeks.

“Our health care system cannot sustain a peak like this,” Huse said. “I cannot stand idly by and do all we can. My integrity as a healthcare professional cannot stand idly by and watch this happen. I cannot watch and our hospitals cannot can’t handle a huge increase in Omicron cases. “

Almost 70% of Douglas County has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, for the 5-11 year old population in the county, 33.1% have received a dose and 24.4% are fully immunized.

“It’s not high enough to prevent widespread disease in this age group,” Huse said.

Huse said Douglas County is also exploring opportunities for more vaccination sites. The health director also said the county was “potentially” working with Total Wellness for another testing site and “exploring” home testing.

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