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Nebraska will ease some COVID-19 restrictions

Government officials in Nebraska are set to ease some COVID-19 restrictions in the state as hospitalization rates remain steady.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) made plans to begin to tone down precautions shortly after midnight on Saturday, according to KETV.

Ricketts plans to increase maximum capacity at indoor events to 50 percent, up from 25 percent. He also stated that hospitals may begin taking individuals for elective surgeries, though restaurants and bars will continue to cap groups to eight people or less and will maintain a social distance of 6 feet, according to KETV.

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The state has seen hospitalization rates level at below 20 percent for seven days straight, moving the level of concern from the orange zone to yellow, the news outlet reported.

“Even with the light the other tunnel here we got to continue to remain vigilant to be able to slow the spread the virus and preserve our hospital capacity,” Ricketts said, according to KETV.

Some in the state are not in agreement that the restrictions should be relaxed so soon. Bob Rauner, the president of Partnership for Healthy Lincoln and a local physician, warned that easing restrictions now could set the state back.

“It’s way too early to back off on things like extracurricular activities and house parties, I mean, all that stuff. Otherwise, we’ll be right back to the near disaster we already had,” Rauner told KETV.

Despite the governor’s move to alleviate some restrictions, local health departments such as those in Omaha and Lincoln, Neb., can still keep strict restrictions in place.

Nebraska has reported a total of 147,037 coronavirus cases and 1,218 deaths as of Dec. 11, The New York Times reported.