Efforts For a Safe and Healthy Community Highlighted In Health Department Report

LINCOLN–(KFOR Feb. 21)–The 2019 to 2022 Public Health Annual Report is out from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, which also provides an overview of the COVID-19 response and other initiatives to improve health and safety of residents.

The Health Department managed and distributed 5.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment. Between January 2021 and August 2022, the Department hosted 490 COVID-19 vaccine clinics at 80 locations across the community.  There have been 14,824,300 visits to the COVID-19 data dashboard since it was launched by the Health Department in 2020.

The Health Department also worked collaboratively with partners to assure rapid response, coordinated use of resources, common purpose, timely communication, and administration of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to the community.  Plus, there was the development of the COVID-19 risk dial, which is part of a data-driven approach to help clearly communicate the risk of spread and impact of COVID-19 in Lincoln and Lancaster County.

“While much of our work spanning the last few years has focused on the COVID-19 response and providing life-saving vaccines, the Health Department team continued to deliver vital services and effective programs throughout the pandemic, which positively impact our community,” Health Director Pat Lopez said in a news release.

Here are some other items outlined in the report.

LLCHD Public Health Clinic

The Health Department’s Public Health Clinic is a safety net provider of vaccines for children and adults, especially for those who may be uninsured or not connected to a medical home. Over the last three years, the clinic provided routine vaccinations to 18,568 children and 5,802 adults.

The clinic also serves newly arrived refugees by providing health screenings and vaccinations, as well as linking them to a medical home for ongoing preventive care. Over the last three years, the clinic served 677 refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Congo, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Taiwan, Thailand, El Salvador, Ukraine, Myanmar, Russia, Ethiopia and Guatemala.

WIC Program

The Women, Infant and Children’s Program provides healthy foods, nutrition education and breastfeeding support free of charge to those who qualify. WIC helps families eat well, learn about nutrition and stay healthy. There were 140,038 visits to the WIC program over the last three years and $2.7 million dollars flows into local grocery stores annually from participants of the WIC program.

Rabies Prevention

Animal Control helps protect the health of people and pets. The Division provides pet licensing – around 64,000 dogs and cats are licensed within Lincoln – and rabies vaccination along with prevention education. Animal Control also partners with the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center for bat testing. Of the more than 1,000 bats tested for rabies over the last three years, 20 tested positive.

Child Passenger Safety

The focus of Safe Kids Lincoln-Lancaster County is to help prevent childhood injuries. Child passenger safety and proper installation of children’s car seats is a priority for the Safe Kids program. Over the last year and a half, Safe Kids conducted 919 car seat checks for families during safety events. Safe Kids also provided more than 400 car seats to families over the past three years.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

LLCHD protects the health of residents by ensuring waste is reduced, recycled and properly discarded. Residents diverted 313,039 pounds of household hazardous waste from the landfill by dropping off those materials at Lincoln’s Hazardous Waste Collection Center, HazToGo, and at several drive-through collection events in the community.

More annual report highlights are available at lincoln.ne.gov/health.

About LLCHD: The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department is an accredited public health department and serves the community through Animal Control, Community Health Services, Dental Health and Nutrition Services, Environmental Public Health, Health Promotion and Outreach, and Informatics and Planning.

LLCHD is the oldest and largest local health department in the state of Nebraska. Its mission is to protect and promote the public’s health. LLCHD was created in 1886 when the Lincoln City Council appropriated $500 to establish the Health Department. LLCHD is both urban and rural in scope with approximately 90% of Lancaster County’s population in Lincoln and the remaining 10% living in 23 rural towns, villages, or unincorporated villages, or on farms and acreages.

The full report is posted on the Health Department’s website at lincoln.ne.gov/health.