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Lincoln health officials discuss when mask mandate may end

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird
Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird(LNKTV)
Published: May. 11, 2021 at 1:28 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 4:19 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird began Tuesday’s press conference by saying the city has made amazing progress in the fight to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The mayor said that 67% of individuals 16 years or older in Lancaster County have received one of the vaccines, and at least 55% have been fully vaccinated.

Lincoln officials noted the potential of lifting the mask mandate after metrics get a bit better, potentially within upcoming weeks.

“The mask mandate change is already a serious consideration for our department,” said Health Director Pat Lopez. “I said that as soon as the community moves forward and meets those metrics, so we’re looking at our vaccination numbers, our positivity numbers and our case numbers. Once we get down to those 10 or below per 100,000, we’ve always said that we would change the mask mandate and have every intention of doing so.”

Lopez said that they did not foresee ending the mask mandate until after the school year. The last day of school for Lincoln Public Schools is May 20.

The City of Lincoln plans to open all nine public pools on Saturday, May 29. However, Parks and Recreation is having difficulty finding pool staff, with only 65% of necessary staff currently hired. Individuals interested in applying for a job at the public pools can Click here for more details.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department announced that the COVID-19 Risk Dial will remain in low-yellow for a fourth consecutive week. The yellow level indicates that the risk of the virus spreading and the impact on our community are moderate. On the color-coded dial, red represents the highest risk of COVID-19 spread, and green represents the lowest risk. The dial is updated every Tuesday.

  • The position of the Risk Dial is based on multiple local indicators and information from the previous three weeks:
  • The number of new weekly cases dropped from 247 the week ending May 1 to 184 cases the week ending week May 8.
  • The community positivity rate decreased from 6.1% the week ending May 1 to 4.8 percent the week ending May 8.
  • The number of local patients hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to remain around 30.
  • No local COVID-19 deaths have been reported since April 19.
  • About 55% of the local population age 16 and over is fully vaccinated.

The LLCHD announced that 16 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Lancaster County, bringing the community total to 31,200. The total number of deaths in the community remains at 232.

Total number of COVID-19 variant cases in Lancaster County: 105

  • B.1.427/B.1.429 – California variants, 10 cases
  • B.1.1.7 – U.K. variant, 93 cases
  • B.1.351 – South Africa variant, 2 cases

Recoveries: 28,497

Weekly positivity rate:

  • May 2 through 8:  4.8 percent
  • May 9 through 15:  no data

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 positive patients: 36 with 24 from Lancaster County (none on ventilators) and 12 from other communities (one on a ventilator).

Vaccinations administered:

  • Initiated vaccinations (first doses):  164,970
  • Completed vaccinations (second doses and J&J vaccine):  134,977

This week’s public clinics (subject to change):

  • Tuesday, May 11, Gateway Mall – first dose drive-through clinic north of garages of the former Sears store
  • Wednesday, May 12, City Impact, 1035 N. 33rd St. – first doses; and Gateway Mall – second dose drive-through clinic north of the garages of the former Sears store
  • Friday, May 14, Pinnacle Bank Arena – first and second doses
  • Saturday, May 15, Pinnacle Bank Arena – first and second doses; and Gateway Mall – second dose drive-through clinic north of the garages of the former Sears store

Registration:  Residents age 16 and older are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine, and appointments are available for this week.  Residents can complete the quick and simple registration process and then schedule an appointment to get vaccinated at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov. Residents who are already in the registration system will be contacted to schedule an appointment.

Those who do not have online access or who need assistance with registration or scheduling may call LLCHD’s COVID-19 hotline at 402-441-8006 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Testing: The process begins with a free online risk assessment available at BryanHealth.com, CHIHealth.com or TestNebraska.com.

Drive-through testing is available from:

  • CHI Health St. Elizabeth: Autumn Ridge Family Medicine, 5000 North 26th St. and Southwest Family Health, 1240 Aries Drive.  Call either site to schedule an appointment: Autumn Ridge, 402-435-5300 and South West Family, 402-420-1300.
  • Test Nebraska: Gateway Mall, 6100 “O” St., north parking lot of the former Sears store.  Tests are conducted from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 402-207-9377

Testing is also available without an appointment at the three Bryan Urgent Care locations, 7501 S. 27th St., 5901 N. 27th St. and 4333 S. 86th St. To check wait times, call 402-481-6343.

For more information, visit COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.

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