(KFOR NEWS  January 5, 2023)   The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) is holding the COVID-19 Risk Dial in the elevated yellow for a fifth 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 over the last week – from 362 to 271 for the week ending December 31.
  • The 7-day rolling average of hospitalizations increased – from 49 last week to 55 today.
  • Wastewater surveillance showed a significant increase in the number of virus particles compared to the previous week.
  • One COVID-19 death was reported last week: A man in his 70s who was hospitalized and unvaccinated. The total is 471.

Testing is another important tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, along with staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines,” said Pat Lopez, Health Director. “It’s important to test if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. At-home test kits are available at the Health Department during regular business hours and at all Lincoln City Library locations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends testing three to five days after travel.

Residents can report results of their at-home COVID-19 tests to the Health Department. A short 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.

Vaccinations: The majority of COVID-19 cases over the last month have been in people who were not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations helps prevent severe illness and hospitalization and saves lives.

COVID-19 vaccine and updated booster doses are approved for everyone age 6 months and older.

The Health Department reminds residents that benefits of the bivalent booster include protection against variants circulating in the community 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 now.

Updated boosters for younger children: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently approved updated COVID-19 booster doses for children under age 5. LLCHD provides updated boosters to this age group at the Health Department, 3131 “O” St.

Upcoming clinics (schedules subject to change): Walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be scheduled online at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov or by calling 402-441-4200.

  • Updated booster dose and primary series clinics for children under age 5: Mondays, 8 a.m. to noon and Thursdays, noon to 4 p.m., LLCHD, 3131 “O” St.
  • Updated booster dose and primary series clinics for children ages 5 to 11: Wednesdays, 4 to 6 p.m., LLCHD
  • Updated booster dose and primary series clinics for ages 5 and older: Mondays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., LLCHD

Local pharmacies also offer updated boosters by appointment to those eligible. Visit vaccines.gov to find a pharmacy near you.

Vaccinations administered:

  • Initiated vaccinations (first doses): 236,757
  • Completed vaccinations (second doses and J&J vaccine): 221,453
  • Lancaster County residents who are fully vaccinated: 69.4%
  • Booster doses: 139,020

Current public health guidance is posted at  COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov. For more information on COVID-19-related, visit COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the LLCHD hotline at 402-441-8006.

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