LLCHD COVID-19 Risk Dial remains at High Risk
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Lancaster-County Health Director Pat Lopez and health officials updated the community on the City’s efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at a briefing on Tuesday.
This indicates that the risk of the virus spreading and the impact on the community is high and increasing. On the color-coded dial, red represents the highest risk of COVID-19 spread, and green represents the lowest risk.
“COVID-19 cases are high, and our hospitals are severely strained,” said Health Director Pat Lopez. “The holidays are approaching, and the omicron variant could be detected locally soon. On top of that, other respiratory viruses, like flu, are ramping up. We urge all those eligible to get vaccinated or a booster dose now. With every person who gets vaccinated or boosted, our protection against the virus is strengthened. This will better position us as individuals and as a community for what may come in the weeks and months ahead.”
The position of the Risk Dial is based on multiple local indicators and information from the previous three weeks.
The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases increased after the Thanksgiving holiday to 182 cases per day on December 5. Since then, the average has declined to 142 cases per day on December 10. Even with that recent decrease, cases are still higher than they were before Thanksgiving.
The positivity rate peaked at 14.7% on December 4 before taking a small drop to 14.2% December 11.
The seven-day rolling average of COVID patients hospitalized locally was in the 90s for most of November and has been above 100 patients since December 1. In the last few days, we are seeing the impact on our hospitals from the post-Thanksgiving bump in cases. Local hospitals reported 121 COVID patients yesterday and 125 today, with 18 on ventilators. 84 patients or about 67% are from Lancaster County.
Eleven residents have died from the virus so far in December.
All Lancaster County residents ages 5 and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses are recommended for those age 16 and older. People can schedule an appointment at an upcoming clinic at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov. Walk-ins are also welcome at all locations. Residents can also find a local pharmacy offering vaccinations at vaccines.gov or by texting their ZIP code to 438829. Those who don’t have online access or need assistance can call 402-441-4200.
Lopez said vaccinations are increasing. Over the past four weeks, vaccinations have averaged about 3,300 doses per week. That’s up about 38% from the average of 2,400 doses per week in the preceding four weeks.
About 63% of all Lancaster County residents are now fully vaccinated. About 41% of residents age 16 and older have now received a booster dose or third dose. Close to 28% of children ages 5 through 11 have now received a first dose, and over 17% are fully vaccinated.
About 73,000 people or about 23% of Lancaster county residents ages five and up who have not yet received vaccine.
The local Directed Health Measure (DHM) is in effect through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, December 23. The DHM continues to require that all individuals ages two and older – regardless of vaccination status – wear a mask indoors.
For general information on COVID-19, visit covid19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.
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