The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today announced that the COVID-19 Risk Dial will remain in mid-yellow for a second 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 273 to 259 for the week ending November 19.
- The 7-day rolling average of hospitalizations decreased – from 48 last week to 44 today.
- Wastewater surveillance showed a slight increase in the number of virus particles compared to the previous week.
- Two COVID-19 deaths were reported last week – a man and a woman in their 70s, who were both hospitalized and vaccinated. The total is 461.
Data shows that 87% of COVID-19 cases in the last four weeks have been in people who were not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 isn’t the only respiratory virus spreading in the community, flu cases are also increasing rapidly and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases remain high.
LLCHD recommends the following actions to help reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses during the holidays:
- Get an updated COVID-19 booster and your annual flu vaccine. If you haven’t received your COVID-19 primary series, it’s not too late to start.
- Take an at-home COVID-19 test if attending a gathering or event, or if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Avoid contact with others who are sick.
- Wash hands often.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Wear a mask if you have cold, flu or COVID-like symptoms.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces.
The Health Department encourages people to follow the public health guidance posted at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov.
COVID-19 vaccination helps prevent severe illness and hospitalization and saves lives. COVID-19 vaccine is approved for everyone age 6 months and older. Updated booster doses are approved for everyone age 5 and older.
The updated boosters, also known as bivalent boosters, have an advantage – they restore the body’s immunity against COVID-19 and protect against variants circulating in the community, which weren’t included in the previous vaccines. Even if residents have had other COVID-19 boosters, it’s important to get the new one. Residents can receive the updated booster at least two months after a previous booster or completing the primary series.
Upcoming clinics (schedules subject to change) – Appointments are encouraged and may be scheduled online at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov or by calling 402-441-4200. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Vaccine for children under age 5:
- Mondays, 8 a.m. to noon and Thursdays, 1 to 4:30 p.m. throughout November (No clinic on November 24), LLCHD, 3131 “O” St.
Updated booster dose clinics for children ages 5 to 11:
- Wednesdays, (No clinic on November 23) – 4 to 6 p.m., LLCHD, 3131 “O” St.
Updated booster dose and primary series clinics for ages 5 and older:
- Monday, November 28, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., LLCHD, 3131 “O” St.
- Friday, December 2, 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.
- Initiated vaccinations (first doses): 236,331
- Completed vaccinations (second doses and J&J vaccine): 221,051
- Lancaster County residents who are fully vaccinated: 69.3%
- Booster doses: 137,850
Information on COVID-19 at-home testing resources can be found at covidtests.gov.
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. People who require assistance completing the form may call LLCHD at 402-441-8006 for assistance.
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.