Nebraska’s largest health care companies to require vaccines

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s biggest health care systems will require all their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

The companies issued a joint statement Thursday announcing the move as virus cases continue to surge in the state. The announcement included CHI Health, Nebraska Medicine, Methodist Health System, Bryan Health, Children’s Hospital, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Madonna Rehabilitation and Midwest Surgical Hospital.

“Each of our organizations take very seriously the responsibility of providing health care to people of all ages and all backgrounds in our communities. Vaccination against COVID-19 is an important step to stop the pandemic and allow our teams to work in the safest way possible,” the health care companies said in their statement.

The move from these large employers may provide a boost to the state’s vaccination campaign. State health officials said Wednesday that 50.7% of all Nebraskans have been fully vaccinated, but the pace of vaccinations has slowed since the spring.

In its most recent weekly update, the state said Wednesday that 2,575 new virus cases were reported in the previous week, which was up from 1,976 the week before. That is up more than tenfold since late June when the state reported 253 cases a week.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska has jumped over the past two weeks from 200.86 new cases per day on July 27 to 367.86 new cases per day on Tuesday.