Gov. Pete Ricketts is imploring residents to follow Nebraska’s voluntary coronavirus safety guidelines as the number of new cases and hospitalizations surge to record levels. He also suggests that the state could reimpose social distancing mandates that were lifted in September. His comments Thursday came as the state’s top public health official warned that Nebraska needs to reduce the number of cases to avoid overwhelming hospitals. Nebraska reported a record 1,828 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. The number of daily hospitalizations soared to a high of 698 the same day, following a week of exponential growth. The election office in one of Nebraska’s largest counties is closed to the public after the commissioner and several staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the Sarpy County Election Commissioner’s Office closed Thursday and is expected to reopen in a week. Election Commissioner Michelle Andahl posted about her diagnosis on Facebook. She said she is working from home and resting. More than 1,000 provisional ballots are still being processed in Sarpy County, Nebraska’s third-largest county with nearly 160,000 residents. Despite the office closure, officials expect vote totals to be updated Friday.