OMAHA, Neb. (FOX42KPTM) - Doctor Jessica Jones of the Methodist Health System told FOX 42 News Monday the latest data is promising. For the first time this year, we begin a traditional work week with less than 300 COVID hospitalizations in the Omaha area.
"Anytime the numbers can go down and there are fewer sick people we are so happy about that."
That takes at least some pressure off health care workers, but the infectious diseases expert warns new spikes in cases and hospitalizations could reenter the picture if we're not careful.
"We envision we're going to see more waves and ebbs and flows going forward."
Of particular concern is the COVID-19 vaccination booster effort. In Douglas County, only the 55+ age group is above the 50 percent mark. Dr. Jones says people just aren't getting that extra jab like they should.
"The three main reasons I've been hearing about are life got busy, the recommendations last fall were confusing and scared about what the third shot might feel like."
She says that could eventually lead to another uptick in hospitalizations down the road.
"If we want to really be able to comfortably go back, even here in Omaha, to those pre-pandemic days we all need to do our part."
Something else she finds troubling? The five to eleven age group is more than 33 percent behind the next age group in terms of full vaccination status.
For now, however, Dr. Jones says progress is progress and that's a starting point.
"Right now, we have a reprieve."
According to a spokesperson for the Douglas County Health Department, the county is getting closer to meeting the criteria for lifting the current mask mandate. There's a possibility it could end this week if everything remains on track.
Medical experts believe the mask mandate did help alleviate COVID rates in the last few weeks.