Gov. Pete Ricketts has sounded the alarm about the increased spread of the coronavirus in Nebraska with a warning that "the situation in our hospitals is very serious" now.
"The coronavirus not only continues to spread in Nebraska, it has picked up steam," he said.
The governor addressed the challenge in his weekly column and accompanied it with a warning on Twitter. He will also speak during a previously scheduled news conference at 2 p.m. Thursday.
"So far, we have been able to provide hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators to anyone who needs care," he tweeted. "If trends continue, Nebraska will reach a point where that's no longer possible."
Ricketts said there's an urgent need now "for all of us to take personal responsibility for slowing the spread by using the tools we have to protect our health care system."
"It's critical that each person reduce their mobility and contact with others," he said.
Ricketts, who has resisted a mandate directing Nebraskans to wear masks in public settings and in crowded situations, urged: "Keep 6 feet of distance from others. Wear a mask. Wash your hands often for 20 seconds at a time."
In addition, he said, "when possible, work remotely. Shop once a week and go alone rather than taking the kids with you. Stay at home when sick."
Avoid crowded places, close contacts and confined spaces, Ricketts urged.
Ricketts and first lady Susanne Shore are in quarantine through Nov. 22 after possible exposure to COVID-19 during a small outdoor dinner gathering at their home this weekend.
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