LINCOLN–(News Release Jan. 26)–The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) on Wednesday announced that the COVID-19 Risk Dial will remain in red position for a fourth consecutive week, indicating that the risk of the virus spreading in the community is severe. On the color-coded dial, red represents the highest risk of COVID-19 spread, and green represents the lowest risk.
The number of new local cases increased for the fourth consecutive week, with 4,520 new cases reported for the week ending January 22. The local positivity rate is at 30.7%, indicating that the risk of transmission is extremely high. The weekly average of COVID-19 patients hospitalized remained high last week at 132. The local hospitals today report 138 COVID-19 patients. So far this month, 30 local residents have died from COVID-19.
Health Director Pat Lopez said that while omicron is peaking or retreating in some areas of the country, it has not peaked here yet. “Even when case numbers start to decline, the risk of infection will still be high for at least a couple of weeks, and hospitalizations could continue to increase. It’s critical we continue to take action to help preserve access to our hospitals and health care, keep our schools open, and reduce disruptions in business services.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 hospitalizations for children and teens in the U.S. are currently at an all-time high. Locally, those age 18 and younger made up about 30% of all new cases last week, and those age 10 and younger accounted for 671 new cases last week, more than double from two weeks ago.
The local Directed Health Measure (DHM), which remains in effect through February 11, includes a mask mandate for individuals ages 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status. Exceptions to the mandate and more information on the DHM are available by visiting covid19.lincoln.ne.gov or by calling 402-441-6280.
In addition to wearing masks, LLCHD urges residents take the following precautions:
Updated guidance and recommendations are at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov.
All Lancaster County residents ages 5 and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine. More than 65% of all Lancaster County residents are fully vaccinated. About 59% percent of residents ages 12 and up have now received a booster or third dose. About 29% of children ages 5 through 11 are now fully vaccinated.
For general information on COVID-19, visit covid19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.