Lincoln-Lancaster County COVID-19 Risk Dial remains in low yellow
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department announced on Tuesday that the COVID-19 Risk Dial will stay in low yellow for a ninth consecutive week. 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 202 to 182 for the week ending March 18.
- The 7-day rolling average of hospitalizations increased – from 36 last week to 41 today.
- Wastewater surveillance decreased slightly compared to the previous week.
- No COVID-19 deaths were reported last week. The total remains 476.
Current public health guidance is available at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov.
Vaccinations: The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized the Pfizer updated bivalent booster for children younger than age 5 who have completed their three-dose primary series with monovalent (single strain) Pfizer vaccine. The next step is approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Children in this age group who previously completed a Moderna primary series can receive a Moderna bivalent booster two months after their final primary series dose.
Video Series: Get the Facts on COVID-19 Vaccine for Young Children – Local physicians share answers to common questions they’ve heard from parents about COVID-19 vaccine. Watch the series so far at http://bit.ly/3X84ndH.
The Health Department continues to encourage residents to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, including getting the updated bivalent booster. COVID-19 vaccine and bivalent booster doses are approved for everyone age 6 months and older. You’re considered up to date when you’ve completed a COVID-19 primary series and received the most recent booster dose recommended for you. If you’ve completed your primary series but aren’t yet eligible for a booster, you’re also considered up to date.
Benefits of the bivalent booster include protection against variants that weren’t included in the previous vaccines and restoration of the body’s immunity against COVID-19. Even if you’ve had other COVID-19 boosters, it’s still important to get the updated one.
LLCHD is currently offering bivalent boosters and the primary series onsite at the Health Department, 3131 “O” St. Appointments can be scheduled online at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or by calling 402-441-4200. Walk-ins are also welcome Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Local pharmacies also offer COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment. Visit vaccines.gov to find a pharmacy near you.
- Initiated vaccinations (first doses): 237,354
- Completed vaccinations (primary series and J&J vaccine): 222,010
- Lancaster County residents – fully vaccinated: 68.4%
- Lancaster County residents – up to date: 19.6%
COVID-19 plan: For those at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a resource to build a personal COVID-19 plan. The plan includes tools, information and actions steps to share with family, friends and health care providers. The COVID-19 plan is available in English and Spanish and can be found at https://bit.ly/3yDzoM3.
People who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 include older adults (age 50 and older), people who are not vaccinated and people with certain medical conditions such as chronic lung disease, heart disease or a weakened immune system.
COVID-19 testing: At-home 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. Lancaster County residents can report results of their at-home COVID-19 tests to the Health Department. The form is available at lincoln.ne.gov/COVID19ReportResults. All information is confidential. Those requiring assistance completing the form may call LLCHD at 402-441-8006.
Every home in the U.S. can order another round of free, at-home tests from the federal government this winter. Visit covidtests.gov to place an order. The Food and Drug Administration 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.
The CDC recently launched testinglocator.cdc.gov to help people find free COVID-19 testing locations. The website is part of a federal program called Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) for COVID-19. COVID-19 testing is available at no cost at ICATT locations for people with or without health insurance who are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. The tests are billed to third-party payers, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurers. People without health insurance do not have to pay for COVID-19 testing at ICATT sites.
For more information on testing or other COVID-19-related topics, visit COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the LLCHD hotline at 402-441-8006.
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