LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Eleven Nebraska lawmakers are prodding Gov. Pete Ricketts to restart the state’s online COVID-19-tracking dashboard, saying local officials are being left in the dark on important infection statistics.
The group sent a letter to Ricketts this week calling for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to reinstate the dashboard and that all 93 counties in the state be required to report outbreak and hospital capacity data to the state.
The state stopped publishing daily COVID-19 data to the online dashboard at the end of June following a downward slide in the number of cases as new vaccines were administered. Since then, though, cases have surged in the state and across the country, mainly among the unvaccinated and in the wake of the highly contagious delta variant of the virus. Nebraska’s decision to pull the plug on the dashboard has been widely criticized by health experts who use the data to track the virus’ spread.
The letter said the state’s release of a weekly report on cases, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccines is inadequate.
“The current weekly report is lacking crucial detailed information, including county-by-county infection rates, COVID-19-related deaths, daily available hospital beds, respirators and overall staffed beds,” the senators wrote.
State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha prompted the request. Others who signed on to the letter were Sens. Jen Day, Megan Hunt, John McCollister, Terrell McKinney, Carol Blood, Matt Hansen, John Cavanaugh, Patty Pansing Brooks, Tony Vargas and Adam Morfeld.
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