OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Health officials plan to impose a new mask mandate in Omaha to slow the spread of COVID-19 as surging virus cases continue to strain hospital capacity in the state.

Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse said Tuesday that the new mandate will take effect Wednesday.

Huse said she hopes the measure will help give hospitals the “breathing room they need.”

The state said the number of people hospitalized with the virus continues to grow this week and hit 635 on Monday.

Hospital officials have said they worry that number will soar in the next couple weeks because of the rapid spread of the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus.