COVID-19 Risk Dial moves to low yellow
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department announced on Tuesday that the COVID-19 Risk Dial will move from mid-yellow to low yellow as several key indicators continue to show improvement. The yellow position on the dial indicates that the risk of the virus spreading in the community is moderate. On the color-coded dial, red represents the highest risk of COVID-19 spread, and green represents the lowest risk.
The position of the risk dial is based on multiple indicators:
- Cases decreased again over the last week – from 187 to 169 for the week ending Oct. 15.
- The 7-day rolling average of hospitalizations decreased – from 35 last week to 31.
- Wastewater surveillance showed an increase in the number of virus particles compared to the previous week. The current three-week average is trending downward.
“Vaccination remains a critical tool to help manage COVID-19 as we move further into fall and winter,” said Health Director Pat Lopez. “More than 33,000 doses of the new, updated boosters have now been administered in Lancaster County and we continue to encourage everyone who is eligible to get one as soon as possible, especially people over 65 and those who have weakened immune systems.”
The updated boosters protect against the variants circulating in the community, which weren’t included in the previous vaccines and restore the body’s immunity against COVID-19. Even if residents have had other COVID-19 boosters, it’s important to get the new one.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently approved updated booster doses for children ages 5 to 11. The approval follows the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of the updated boosters, also known as bivalent boosters. The updated boosters will replace existing boosters for this age group.
Children can receive a child-sized dose of the updated booster at least two months after a previous booster or completing the primary series.
LLCHD is currently awaiting final guidance from the CDC and will provide additional information on upcoming clinics in the near future.
The Health Department continues to hold vaccination clinics that offer the updated boosters for residents age 12 and older. They can receive an updated booster at least two months after their last booster or since completing the primary series. Appointments are encouraged and can be scheduled at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or by calling 402-441-4200.
The Health Department also encourages people to follow the public health guidance posted at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov. In addition to staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, recommendations in the public health guidance include:
- Wear a mask if you have allergy, cold or COVID-19 like symptoms, have a positive COVID-19 test, or have been exposed to someone with the virus.
- Wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by your vaccination status and level of risk.
- Get tested or self-test if you have allergy, cold or COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with the virus.
- 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.
Free home COVID-19 test kits are available in the main lobby of the LLCHD, 3131 “O” St., during regular business hours. Test kits are also available at all Lincoln City Library locations. Residents can report results of their at-home tests to the Health Department. A short form is available at lincoln.ne.gov/COVID19ReportResults.
The Food and Drug Administration recently extended the shelf lives of many home COVID-19 tests. To determine if a test has a new expiration date, visit At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests | FDA.
For more information on COVID-19, vaccine or to find upcoming clinic dates and locations, visit COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the Health Department at 402-441-4200.
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