Lancaster County COVID-19 Risk Dial rises to high risk
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Lancaster-County Health Department’s COVID-19 Risk Dial rose to low-orange (high-risk) on Tuesday. The dial has not been in orange since the week of Feb. 23.
The change indicates that the risk of the virus spreading and the impact on our community is high and continues to increase. On the color-coded dial, red represents the highest risk of COVID-19 spread, and green represents the lowest risk.
LLCHD Health Director Pat Lopez said the rise was expected with the recent holiday gathering and the summer traveling period.
According to LLCHD, there has been a steady increase in weekly cases since the beginning of May, when there were 301 cases. Since then cases have more than doubled to reach 671 cases in the week of July 9.
The 7-day rolling average of hospitalizations continues to increase – from 35 last week to 39 today.
Wastewater data is also showing a significant increase. Analysis over the last three weeks shows that virus levels have more than doubled. Lopez said wastewater data testing is considered a leading indicator, meaning it precedes cases that the LLCHD may see in cases and hospitalizations.
“We’re seeing higher levels of COVID-19 in the community, which means we’re more likely to come into contact with someone who has the virus. There are precautions we can take including staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, and if we’re unable to distance ourselves from others, wearing a mask indoors and in crowded outdoor settings,” said Health Director Pat Lopez.
The Health Department has updated public health guidance posted at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov. Recommendations include the following:
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, which includes getting booster doses as soon as you’re eligible.
- When unable to distance, wear a mask both indoors and in crowded outdoor settings.
- Wear a mask if you have COVID-19 like symptoms, have a positive COVID-19 test, or have been exposed to someone with the virus.
- Get tested or self-test if you have allergy, cold or COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with the virus. Lancaster County residents can report results of their at-home COVID-19 tests to the Health Department. The form is available at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov in the testing section of the website, just below the risk dial. All information is confidential.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- If you test positive, ask your health care provider about COVID-19 treatments that may be available to you or find a test and treat location at covid.gov.
- If you test negative but continue to experience COVID-like symptoms, follow up with your health care provider.
- Those over age 65 and people with medical conditions associated with higher risk for severe COVID-19 should consult with their health care providers about taking additional protective actions.
Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is now essentially available to everyone from young children to older adults. With COVID-19 spreading within the community, it’s important to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting booster doses when eligible. If you’re eligible for a booster or haven’t yet received the primary series, LLCHD encourages you to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Find upcoming vaccination clinic dates and locations at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov or by calling the Health Department at 402-441-4200.
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