The Omaha City Council voted Tuesday to extend the city’s mask mandate through Feb. 23.

An updated directed health measure also went into effect statewide in Nebraska on Wednesday, requiring 6 feet of separation between household groups or individuals at gyms, bars, restaurants, businesses and churches.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said at a Monday press conference that there will be no statewide mask mandate, but he said masks are required when 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained.

He cited increasing hospitalizations in the state and encouraged people to not let down their guard while describing the restrictions under the new directed health measure.

“We want everybody to avoid the three Cs. Those are confined spaces, close contacts, crowded places,” Ricketts said. “That will help us slow down the virus, as well, as the virus spreads from person to person.”

Ricketts and the first lady, Susanne Shore, entered a 14-day quarantine Tuesday after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 at a dinner.

“On Sunday night, Gov. Ricketts and the First Lady joined three people for dinner outside,” said Taylor Gage, director of strategic communications for the governor, in a press release.

“One of the people they joined tested positive for coronavirus on Monday,” Gage said. “Neither the Governor or First Lady are showing any symptoms, and they will get tested at the appropriate time.”

The most recent measure limits tables or parties to eight people at restaurants, bars or events. It also requires masks when there is 15 minutes or more of close contact, such as in salons, barbershops or tattoo parlors.

“One of the things we are very concerned about is our hospital capacity,” Ricketts said.

The state dashboard on Tuesday showed 820 active hospitalizations.

According to the Douglas County Health Department website, Omaha-area hospital beds are at an 86% occupancy rate and ICU beds are at 81% occupancy rate.

Creighton’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 39 cases for the week ending Nov. 7, the same week that the positive test rate jumped to 29.2% in Douglas County.

There were 26 student cases and 13 employee cases reported. That is the highest number of employee cases reported so far this semester.

Douglas County reported 3,085 cases in the week ending Nov. 7, which is the highest weekly case count yet and nearly triple the peak in early May.

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