Nebraska Gov. Ricketts said state will fight vaccine mandate

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said he plans to join other Republican governors in challenging President Joe Biden’s sweeping new vaccine requirement in court.

Ricketts said on Fox News Sunday that Nebraska’s attorney general has been consulting with other attorneys general who believe the federal government is overstepping its authority by mandating that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. The roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

“This is really going to create huge problems for all small businesses and for our American workers. and again, you shouldn’t have to make the choice of keeping your job or getting a jab in the arm,” Ricketts said.

In Nebraska, Ricketts has encouraged people to get vaccinated and wear masks but he has resisted mandates to do either.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska has risen over the past two weeks from 715.14 new cases per day on Aug. 27 to 822.86 new cases per day on Friday as the highly contagious delta variant of the virus spreads.

Ricketts said he is focused on making sure hospitals have enough capacity to handle the surge in COVID-19 cases, which he believes they do.

In recent weeks, the state has taken a couple of steps to ease the burden on hospitals by waiving some state licensing laws and regulations and putting limits on some elective surgeries. The state also reopened its transfer center to help Nebraska hospitals find places to send patients who need additional care.

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