tv Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts Holds Coronavirus Briefing CSPAN December 11, 2020 7:12pm-8:01pm EST
at 8 p.m. eastern, we are live author of artilla, guide to the electoral college to talk about the results. watch the electoral college vote monday, live, starting at 10:00 eastern on c-span, online at c-span.org, or listen on the c-span radio app. >> earlier today, negrete -- nebraska governor pete ricketts press conference and they were going to join the texas lawsuit because of separation of powers. this is 45 minutes. >> -- gov. ricketts: thank you for joining us on our press release on the response of the pandemic. we will have a guest here in a moment, the ceo of great planes
health and north platte. but before that, i just want to remind people that with the pandemic, we need people to continue to practice all the good tools we have given you in regard to keeping that six feet of difference between you and other people, washing your hands time, 20 seconds at a that kills the virus. wear a mask when you go to the store, work at home if you can and stay at home if you are sick and everyone in your household needs to stay home as well. make sure you are not spreading the virus. go get tested. if you are sick, please stay home. obviously, it's the holiday season, please go shopping by yourself. don't take the whole family with you. if you are going grocery shopping, go once a week and leave the kids at home. these are things we can do to slow the spread of the virus. avoid confined spaces, crowded spaces in close contact. the virus is spread from one person to another, so if you can
avoid those, you can slow the spread of the virus as well. we have holiday parties, it's a good idea to postpone those until sometime later next year or if you are going to have them, have them with smaller groups of people and if you have people together wearing masks, it's helpful to slow the spread of the virus. nobody wants to be sick over the holidays when you may be spending time with your families. nobody wants to be in the hospital, you don't even want to be quarantined, so slow down is the best thing to do to slow down -- to avoid being in quarantine. so please are member that. also, all of this is to make sure we preserve our hospital capacity. bedsve 28% of our hospital able today. 26 percent of icu beds and 70% of our ventilators. hospitalizations
right now and that has been pretty stable for the last week. that has been stable to low our level of 20%. so if we have one more day, today, of being at that level low to percent, our seven day rolling average will have been below 20% and that means we will move from the orange phase to the yellow phase. you may recall about a month ago , november 13, we published our chart. you can see the lines on the chart here. you can see red, orange, yellow, dropping down to lou. those represent different increments. when he percent above is read. when he 5% is orange. 15% to 20%, we are in that category now, is the yellow. if we continue to stay there, we will be going into that yellow to relax some of those restrictions. so that's potential that could
12:01 tomorrow morning. if it jumps up a bunch, it can change that, but if it stable, we can go to yellow. even though we are going to yellow, we remind people we still have the virus in the community. you need to practice all the rules we have been talking about with regard to the pandemic and slowing things down. thatif we go into yellow, will allow for elective surgeries if the hospital can maintain 10% capacity. i know that is an important point as people have deductibles and are trying to get those end-of-the-year surgeries and. one way we can slow the viruses go to test nebraska.com. we've had 576,000 nebraskans sign up.
time has been 30 hours, so we have been getting those tests turned around quickly. around been turning that quickly. especially if you are going to see friends and family, a great opportunity to get tested. to help slowt way down the spread of the virus. please sign up and get tested. we are expanding test spots in lincoln. please look out for that. about, all theed precautions we have been taking is to slow the spread of the virus and preserve hospital capacity so that we can provide that hospital bed to anyone who needed it when they needed it. we have treated it as a strategy
, the entire state of nebraska is one big hospital system. center set up a transfer to move patients from one hospital to another or even one region to another to make sure we can balance the load about how many covid patients hospitals are taking. one of the great partners has been melnyk nate at great plains. they have been a tremendous partner, willing to step up and you may recall early on in this pandemic, we were looking at increasing hospitalizations in , whogton, nebraska -- mel is the ceo has worked diligently with us and set up a couple of ambulances and a helicopter to make sure we can transfer patients out of lexington if necessary. he's been willing to take patients from long-term care he's been and tremendous partner. we have seen that cooperation
from our hospital systems here but mel has been tremendous. i'm saying all these nice things about belt that -- about mel -- can you even hear me? >> good morning. gov. ricketts: before i get done, i've got to recognize you -- you were named rural hospital of the year two years in a row. that's one of only 19 hospitals across the nation and the only hospital in nebraska. congratulations on that designation. for thee very thankful staff. youuld like to say thank for your kind words. we really appreciate it. i want to wish everybody good morning and let you know that and effort during world war ii to provide nourishment to all troops traveling through the community from the east to west
coast is alive in health care associations in nebraska. this pandemic continues to challenge the way we deliver care as we gain more knowledge and have a better understanding of how it would operate. i've been asked to share some of the innovative changes to ensure in that safe care rapidly changing environment. for i do, i want to thank the governor and dr. for their leadership in helping organizations like great plains health deal with covid-19. we have been great partners and i appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. the organization early on in this pandemic implemented and interdisciplinary team approach to clinical care within the facility. communication regarding the status of all of our patients and making sure resources are available to our
nursing staff stop we meet daily on just about every patient in the organization, whether they are covid positive or not. that timely discussion helps remove barriers for care and processes and a member of that team is a member of our administrative team trying to do those kinds of follow-ups. early on, our er physician during this last spike identified a type of patient that could use oxygen in their employnd we were able to that into the hospital and beds were scarce. we follow those patients to make sure they are safe and recovering appropriately. healthrs at great plains have participated in a wide variety of trial and research
-- whichn, including -- we had a team of staff facilitating the giving of monoclonal antibody drugs in the outpatient setting. preliminary results are encouraging. we've seen an increase in admissions and a reduction in the length of stay. staff have engaged with family and patients at different levels, talking about a desired course of care and facilitated end-of-life discussions if there is a need for pallet of care if appropriate. leadership has worked closely with critical access partners to manage the volume of patients needed in treatment and i want to complement those facilities that worked with us. it was a bidirectional flow of patients and i one night -- i would like to acknowledge the
hospitals for their willingness to work with us and set aside barriers to meet the spike in admissions we recently experienced. leadership works collaboratively in our region and we do that all the time, more so and more frequently here lately. we hope to establish a covid-19 unit in one of the nursing homes that allows residents in other nursing homes that tested positive to quickly be relocated to the units and stop the spread in the nursing homes. our infectious disease physician has provided consult with providers to ensure safe, quality care throughout the region. as patients recover, the new challenge we are facing is referrals to rehab centers for recovery. have beenese patients in bed or on a ventilator for 25 days. we noticed the need and
difficulty referring to rehab facilities, so starting monday, our rehab staff will start initiating processes that occur in rehab facilities upon admission of our patients so we can reduce the need for long-term transfers. those are a few of the things we are working on and i want to thank you for letting me share some of those and some of what is going on as we continue to fight this covid-19 across the state. gov. ricketts: thank you very much. you and your team have done a fantastic job and i'm personally grateful for all the efforts of you and your team to help make sure we are taking care of nebraskans and the flex ability, innovation, everything you have done has been impressive. do you have a few minutes to take some questions? if we have time, we can do things a little differently and take some questions if you have the opportunity.
do you have time? >> i do. gov. ricketts: we will change things up a little bit today. we are going to ask if anybody here in the room has questions for mel and if there is anybody who is online and wants to email them in, you can text them to justin. do you have a question? >> not specifically for mel right now. have you heard when you will get the vaccine and how quickly -- gov. ricketts: questions for mel. sorry. andrew is asking what you have heard about receiving vaccines. i'm sorry, there was a little bit of echo there. but we are hoping we will receive the vaccine the first part of the week. we are working with our partners
to make sure we distribute the vaccine quickly and to use every file that has been given to us. [inaudible] gov. ricketts: andrew is asking what does it mean to be one day away from moving orange to yellow and what does that mean for hospitals? coloring into a different indicates we are going to be able to perform or elective surgeries. we will still be monitoring our beds closely to make sure we have beds for our acute patients and we are treating individuals with stroke, heart attack, a lot coverte issues that we and provide those services too. we monitor that and adjust our
surgery accordingly, just not for covid-19 but other critical care we need to provide. fred?icketts: [inaudible]r: you ricketts: have experienced patients with heart conditions staying away from the hospital because of coronavirus? >> we have been tracking our volumes and we have made an approach to ensure people come back into our clinic, at our er, so it's not overrun. we are treating the same volume of patients we were treating back in january and february, so we are starting to see patients come back. we have created a lot of opportunity for patient interaction through telehealth and we have a wide telehealth network that allows patients to repeat telehealth.
a lot of psychiatrists are doing consults through telehealth. gov. ricketts: did you have another question? has he seen a change in attitude of people and are you worried [inaudible] he is asking: what is have you seen a change of people's attitude as we have been in orange for almost a month and are you concerned that if you have seen a change and people are being more careful that they may not be as careful now that we are going into yellow? continuek we have to to market and share how we can keep each other safe from covid-19. i think our medical staff have been instrumental sharing that message with their patients and i think we need to continue that. i don't think there will be a
letdown. hopefully not because there are a lot of factors to this. spread.through normal inoping we see a decrease covid-19 admissions and continue to strengthen. reporter: [inaudible] he would like to know how much have you been able to reduce hospital admissions by using oxygen in the home? we haven't had a chance to really track the data yet. anecdotally, our er positions are conscientious on who they
allowed to use the oxygen at home and we provide the proximity which allows them to measure their level and are care workers are calling on them. there have been enough patients that have allowed us to admit critical patients and not have to transfer them. currently, we have received patients from as far away as oklahoma, so we have been able to not only meet the needs of north platte but some of the surrounding states. we have had to transfer patients and north platte early on in spite of this last spike that occurred, a lot of those patients were transferred to our critical access partners so we can maintain a level of this with a higher acuity treating those covid-19 patients. that data should be coming out and i would be happy to share it. gov. ricketts: anybody else?
tell you how can't impressed i am with you and your organization. you've done a fantastic job. please tell your team how grateful we are for their long hours taking care of our coronavirus patients as well as the other patients they take care of. you guys have been doing a fantastic job and we very much appreciate it stop we still have a lot ahead of us but we are excited now that this vaccine is hopefully going to be coming to us next week and that's the light at the end of the tunnel. we look forward to working with you on the vaccine administration as well. >> thank you. it has been an honor. gov. ricketts: merry christmas. just wrapping up here again, our schedule will be monday, wednesday and friday. -- i'm not webbing up -- i'm not wrapping up, i have questions.
wednesday, friday and that will be 10 a.m. on monday and wednesday because of the nebraska state patrol graduation, we will do the press briefing and start earlier on friday to accommodate the schedule. now we will go into broader questions. about the texas wants --lawsuit -- he that lawsuit is without merit. [indiscernible] [inaudible] some counties -- gov. ricketts: so he's asking about the lawsuit where the attorney general signed on with
several other states on an amicus brief in regard to that texas lawsuit, making sure states are following their own laws and if you don't follow your own laws in one state, it can impact another state such as this. the key there is two things. one, we are following the separation of powers. the legislative branch and judicial branch don't get to make laws. that's the prerogative of the legislative branch. the executive and judicial don't get to do that. if you are going to change the election law, you have to do it the proper way, which is the legislative branch. that's the basis for the lawsuit and how they signed the amicus refund that. in general, we need to make sure we are avoiding election irregularities. believe isething we in the separation of the three ranges of government and that is what this is about and we believe it is perfectly
appropriate to say if you are not following your own laws, that's a problem. with regard to the counties within a state, that would be dependent on state law. if we have areas in nebraska that have mail-in voting, that was done appropriately through the legislative process to take care of. reporter: do we have any idea will be first vaccine administered in nebraska? gov. ricketts: for security purposes, we are not saying which hospitals or when they will be receiving it. expecting,you we are now that the fda has approved, those pfizer shipments next week, they will distribute them to eight hospital systems and they will work with nine other hospital systems to inoculate hospital staff that deal with
coronavirus patients and other patients. folksl as those ems dealing with coronavirus patients. >> [inaudible] does nebraska have enough funding to roll out vaccines? [inaudible] gov. ricketts: julie anderson is asking whether sufficient federal money to roll out a vaccine program and i have not heard of anybody who is not going to be able to roll out vaccines because of a lack of money. we are monitoring closely what's going on with regard to the stimulus package because that has additional money for states to do the vaccine programs, however we will budget it one way or another to make sure we
get the vaccines rolled out, so i don't anticipate that's going to be a problem, at least not here in nebraska. >> she asks are those percentages rounded up or down to a whole number? say -- [inaudible] gov. ricketts: with regard to our numbers -- maybe you can put the chart up again. we said when he percent of the threshold. they are not rounded. if we are below 20%. gov. ricketts: andrew, fred, do we have questions here? [inaudible] gov. ricketts: what are the other effects? i would refer you to our chart.
extracurricular activities, we have limited that two households. that will be broader now. it won't be limited to households. from 25%pacity will go to 50%. that will be expanded. the six feet separation will go from being the thm to guidance now. we think it's a good idea to keep that six foot of separation. we had discussions about this as well. if you have a school gymnasium, the school can take steps to limit the number of people in there if they want to be more restrictive, they certainly can do that. any event with more than 500 people is going to have the , aal public health directors plan submitted to the public health department and that plan be signed off on. thm, that you had
to wear masks in a business if you are closer than six feet for more than 15 minutes. that will be specifically for things like salons and so forth. masks and salons, barbershops, etc., all of that stuff goes to guidance now. including for the salons. andrew? reporter: [inaudible] [indiscernible] the question was about the paycheck protection program where businesses received $3.4 billion here in
nebraska, over 40,000 $3.4izations received billion. the intent had been for that not to be taxable and the irs came out with a ruling saying it is taxable. my understanding is in the next bill congress is debating, they will make clear that will not be taxable and nebraska will follow that as well. under statetaxable law either. reporter: how much money will the state get if that didn't happen? gov. ricketts: the question was with regard to the state specifically, do we know where that provision is? that's part of one of the things that will be in the next stimulus package that is going to be rolled out. i can't predict when that would be done and any change that
would follow the federal tax code, any change to change from that would have to be done in our state tax code. when we were doing our forecasting, we went with the original guidance that those dollars would not be taxable. reporter: the carnegie meli -- carnegie mellon study -- [inaudible] they found something like 90.6% nebraskans wear masks all or most of the time. fred is asking -- we tweeted out a carnegie mellon survey, self-reported survey of how money people wearing masks, some or all the time if they go out in public and not brass go
was about 90%. if you looked at some of the historical data, that number had been going up because we had taken the step to go into the think people so i were more aware and wearing masks. i think 90% is a self-reported number but it's roughly the same as wisconsin had been reporting. i have been slowing down, so i have been going from work here in the capital to my house. i have not been going out much. when i have gone out, i have seen at least in omaha, people are wearing masks. reporter: [inaudible] gov. ricketts: when you start the question that way, you know that i know something is up. is, i'm a big
states rights guy, what what i think if another state challenged our election laws? we are not challenging their laws, we are challenging their process. what we are saying is if you are not following the process of changing your laws through the legislative branch, that is the appropriate, constitutional way to do it. every state has follow that unless you have a law that allows for something different. you can't just make up laws in the executive branch or traditional branch. this is one of those things we talk about a lot -- judicial activism. you can't legislate from the vent -- from the bench. fromave to discourage it the executive branch. can the governor's office do this and the attorney general advises you cannot do that. the ability to create a new law or whatever.
you can waive a statute that may be allows for someone to do actthing, but you have to within the laws of the emergency management act as they are written. that's true for nebraska and true for everybody else. if we were acting outside of our prerogatives, i would hope before some other state brings it up that somebody in nebraska would be saying you have to follow the law. reporter: [inaudible] gov. ricketts: he saying why is this not just a political move for republicans? i think the separation of powers is a profoundly held belief and is important to our very republic and the foundation of our country that we follow the rule of law and have the separation of powers. that's not a political stunt. [inaudible] i can't talk:
about hypotheticals. andrew asked if joe biden had lost and trim had one, would the attorney general be filing an amicus brief? it would depend on the facts and circumstances at the time, so there's no way to answer that. can't answer hypothetical questions. reporter: if the supreme court were to take this and say we agree -- gov. ricketts: the question is if the supreme court were to take this and the supreme court would agree, what would be the public reaction? there would be people who are happy with it and people who are unhappy with it just like every decision that is made. some people will like it and some people won't. [indiscernible]
asking dotts: don is i support the goal of the texas lawsuit? what i support is following the rule of law. of these states did not follow the proper state law, didn't follow the separation of powers, doubt to be held accountable for that. i'm not an attorney, so that's something for the attorneys and the courts to decide and we have a process for this. wes is part of the process have -- aggrieved parties can go through the process. reporter: with the vaccine so close, why not increase restrictions to save lives over the next couple of months. gov. ricketts: we have seen increasing deaths and that is true, with the increasing cases of hospitalizations, why not go
to a hard lock down and wait for the vaccine? what we have done is focus on our hospital capacity. it is a virus and you can't stop it from coming. you can slow the spread enough to slow the hospital system. that has been our strategy since day one and we will continue to follow that strategy. is there anything on when the first vaccine shipment will arrive? gov. ricketts: do we have any specifics when they are going to arrive and for security purposes, we are not going to say specifically when they are going to arrive. we are not going to give out specific locations other than to say there are eight hospital systems that will receive them. that would be a total of 17 hospital systems getting access to vaccines. -- for security
purposes, i'm not going to get more specific because we want to make sure anyone who wants to cause a problem does not have the opportunity. can you give more clarification on the second and third delay? gov. ricketts: the question is have we had any clarification from pfizer on when the second and third shipments would be. we do not. we were originally supposed to get in the second week, that would be the week after next, we are swiss to get 19,000 500 -- we are supposed to get 19,500. --have been told maybe would we would receive some allocation of that but we have not been confirmed how that is going to work out, whether it's some allocation or will be pushed off to another time.
the question was, if the supreme court takes this case, what happens on december 14? i'm not an attorney. that's a question for the court and attorneys to sort out. i don't know what the implication would be. dr. antonia, can you come up lease. reporter: [indiscernible] >> rebecca costello wants to know about the number of cases and the number of deaths currently in our long-term care facilities. this is as of this morning, 3884 residents in long-term care facilities that have tested positive. is through the -- the cumulative for the course of the
pandemic. deaths inow 579 long-term care facility residents for about a 44% rate over our overall deaths. deaths areoverall people who have been in long-term care facilities. the number of facilities that have reported cases are up to 496. almost every facility now. the staff, i don't have that number but for the last data i i will have to get back to you. staff, i will get you the exact number. reporter: [indiscernible]
andrew asked if we do go down to yellow, what would our message be to the public? the best statement i heard was from dr. hahn from the fda that said we have held down the fort now for almost nine months. we see the cavalry coming. now is not the time to quit fighting. now is the time to increase the fight knowing that calvary is coming. so my message would be don't give up the three c's. give up the three c's. know that there is the light at the end of the tunnel coming and let's wait that out. one of the things we heard on a call the other day was the month of december, there will be 20 million inoculations for a vaccine. during the month of january, there will be 30 million.
during the month of february, there will be 50 million. that's almost one third of the population being vaccinated by the end of february. so this is not the time to give up. this is the time, especially the people that will not be vaccinated to keep as vigilant as possible and like they say, the cavalry is coming. gov. ricketts: thank you. i just want to stress what the doctor said -- even with the vaccine coming and even with us moving from orange to yellow, now is not the time to stop practicing all the good rules we know about -- wearing a mask when you go to the store, staying home when you are sick, washing your hands often, keeping that six foot of difference, work from home if you can, shop once a week by yourself. avoid the three c's.
we have to continue to remain vigilant to slow the spread of the virus. any other questions that came in? [indiscernible] [laughter] [indiscernible] gov. ricketts: the question was what about going to yellow right before black friday? the shopping season. friday was the friday after thanksgiving. [laughter] with regard to the retail establishments, the thm
impacting businesses with regard to masks when you have close proximity for 15 minutes or more , would not apply to the retail establishments but what i see from retail establishments is that they have been for months now taking steps to spread out customers, putting signs on the floor, putting up plexiglas. i would encourage nebraskans if you are going to go shopping and you still want to wear a mask, that will help slow down the spread of the virus. here's the deal -- it's the holiday season. you don't want to be quarantined, you don't want to be sick and you don't want to be in the hospital. slow down right now so you can avoid any of those things in the month of december as we lead up to the holiday season. we started hanukkah last night, so we are in the holiday season right now. take the precautions and slow down.
reporter: [indiscernible] doesn't it seem contradictory to say don't give up the fight when you are loosening up restrictions and it's not contradictory at all? we are telling people to practice all the tools. we are loosening up restrictions but we still have restrictions in place to stop this is all about managing hospital capacity , so it fits in line with our strategy that we have managed in the pandemic, to base the restrictions on where our hospital capacity is, but it's going to depend on nebraskans practicing the tools we have given them to slow the coronavirus. seeing no more questions, i will wish everybody a great weekend and please continue to slow down
as we go into the holiday season and we want to slow things down so people don't get sick and can see their families. wash your hands, keep that six foot of difference and i want to say thanks to all the folks who sent me christmas cards and encouraging notes. i appreciate all the kind words, so thank you for that. finally, we have a big football game tomorrow, so let's cheer the huskers on and that will help us maybe get to a 500 season here. with that, thanks very much and we will be back at 10 a.m. on monday. don't forget about test nebraska -- we have space available, so please come in and get tested. thank you very much and we will see you on monday.
>> with coronavirus cases increasing across the country, use our website, c-span1.org/coronavirus -- c-span.org/coronavirus. track the spread with interactive maps and watch updates on demand anytime at c-span.org/coronavirus. >> next, president-elect joe biden announces cabinet picks focused on to mystic policy, including secretaries of housing and urban development, veteran affairs and white house to mystic policy council director. after that, coronavirus briefings from the governors of new york, nebraska, and minnesota. c-span's washington journal -- every day, we are taking your calls live on the air on the news of the day and will discuss policy issues that impact you. coming up saturday morning, the host of the where it hurts
podcast will discuss the state of rural hospitals in the u.s. then ej dionne and william kristol will discuss the 20th anniversary of the bush v gore supreme court case. watch washington journal live saturday morning and join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, texts, and tweets. book tv on c-span2 has topped nonfiction books and authors every weekend. this weekend, saturday at 1 p.m. eastern, coverage from the recent texas book festival. author robert draper and his on theo start a war" george w. bush's administration decision to go to war with iraq. coverage of the texas book festival continues on the aclu and 19th amendment. on theportswriters
political, economic and social issues facing sports today. m.i.t. professor and attack investor with his book "the hype machine -- how social media disrupts our economy and health and how we must adapt. afterwards, krista para unwanteduthor of "love " on how she was denied reproductive choice and health care for her children. -- watch bookewed tv on c-span two, this weekend. >> sunday night on "q&a" -- the 100 17th congress begins with 141 women serving in we will talk to to o'neill's in the
freshman class. we will talk to them about their backgrounds and what they hope to accomplish in office. >> i tend to decide with the american people in the working class. i think government operates best when it is small, accountable and transparent and people have the power to control that. i don't think people should work to serve the government and build these big, bureaucratic programs. as far as where i find myself, i may ready conservative member, but i am america first. i will work with numbers -- members that will prove the concept of equal opportunity rather than equal outcome. >> i'm of the generation that has never known a day in our adult life when the united states has not been at war. i was in middle school in september 11 to happen. i think the idea of ending the forever war takes a special part because we have no -- because we
know the cost that has had on our generation. one of the things i want to focus on is rebuilding america's standing around the world and and that we are thinking about how we can craft foreign policy that will address the challenges of the future. announcer: freshman women of the 117th congress, sunday night at 8:00 eastern, on c-span's q&a. announcer: president-elect biden cabinet and other top administration posts focused on policy. this is 45 minutes.
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