LLCHD COVID-19 Risk Dial lowers to green
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department announced on Tuesday that the COVID-19 Risk Dial will move to green for the first time since late July 2021. The green position on the dial means that the risk of the virus spreading in the community is low. On the color-coded dial, red represents the highest risk of COVID-19 spread, and green represents the lowest risk. The dial will remain in green until further notice.
“We have reached this milestone because of you – our residents – and the positive actions you have taken to protect yourself and others,” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. “We all want to maintain this hard-won progress, and each of us has power to ensure that we do. Here’s what you can still do to help keep our community in the green and protect the good life: if you are not yet fully vaccinated or boosted, seize this moment to get yourself across the finish line and bring home a lasting win for our community.”
The Mayor praised Health Director Pat Lopez and the entire local public health team for their hard work, dedication, and compassion. “Their heroic efforts have prevented illness and saved lives,” she said.
Lopez said the future course of the pandemic remains uncertain, and LLCHD is closely monitoring other variants like BA.2, another version of omicron thought to be more transmissible. So far, 18 cases of BA.2 have been identified in Nebraska, including one Lancaster County case reported to LLCHD today.
“It’s important to remain flexible. If our local situation changes, we will re-evaluate current recommendations and make adjustments as necessary,” Lopez said. “Staying up to date on your COVID-19 vaccination plays a key role in maintaining strong protection against the virus and keeping it more manageable as we move forward.”
The position of the Risk Dial is based on multiple local indicators and information from the previous three weeks:
The weekly number of new COVID-19 cases declined to 89 the week ending March 19. It’s the first time the number of weekly cases has dropped below 100 since late July 2021. The number of new cases per week has dropped steadily since the week ending January 15, when nearly 5,000 new cases were reported.
The seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 patients hospitalized locally has continued to decline since early February and is down to an average of 29. Today, the hospitals report 33 patients, with 23 from Lancaster County.
The local positivity rate has been below the 5% threshold for three consecutive weeks and was down to 3.4% the week ending March 19.
Three COVID-19 deaths have been reported so far in March.
All Lancaster County residents ages 5 and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine. More than 66% of all Lancaster County residents are fully vaccinated, and about 60% of residents ages 12 and up have now received a booster or third dose.
The latest public health guidance and vaccine information is available at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov or by calling the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.
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