Patricia Lopez, RN, MSN, Interim Health Director, 402-441-8093
COVID-19 Risk is Moderate for Fourth Consecutive Week
Health department urges residents to assess risk before going out
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) announced today that the COVID-19 Risk Dial at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov will remain at the mid-yellow level for the fourth consecutive week. Yellow indicates a moderate risk of the spread of COVID-19. On the color-coded Dial, red represents the highest risk of COVID-19 spread, and green represents the lowest. The Dial is usually updated every Friday, but was updated a day early due to City offices being closed Friday for the Fourth of July holiday.
Interim Health Director Pat Lopez said that as more activities occur in the community, we are likely to see an increased rate of transmission. "Most local businesses have implemented safeguards to protect employees and customers," she said. "At the same time, each of us has the responsibility to protect ourselves and make the best-informed decisions. If you consider the risk of exposure and don't feel comfortable, you can choose not to participate in gatherings and events. You can choose to avoid businesses that are not following preventive measures."
Lopez said individuals can look at three factors to assess risk before going out:
Contact intensity: Consider how closely you will be to other individuals and for how long. You are at the highest risk if you are indoors or in crowded spaces for a prolonged period of time. Also, consider if you are going to be close to others while speaking loudly, cheering,. or singing.
Number of contacts: Smaller gatherings with fewer people are the lowest risk.
Mitigation: You can reduce risk by moving an event outside, using physical barriers, spacing six feet apart at a gathering, and wearing a mask.
LLCHD uses five key factors to determine the local COVID-19 Risk Dial position:
The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the community has been declining. The number of new cases reached 250 during the week ending May 23. So far this week, the number of new cases is 73. Of the 289 cases reported over the last two-and-a-half weeks, 70 percent are under age 40.
The overall positivity rate - the percentage of all tests that are positive - declined from 7.4 percent June 1 to 6.4 percent June 30. The rate today is up slightly to 6.5 percent. The state rate is 10.6 percent, and the national rate is at 9.9 percent.
Local testing capacity remains steady, with about 11,000 individuals tested in June.
Overall, local hospital capacity remains strong. The number of COVID-19 patients in Lincoln hospitals has dropped from 41 patients June 3 to 13 patients today.
The Health Department's capacity to do contact tracing continues to exceed the current demand, although LLCHD is looking for more contact tracers as school nurses return to schools.
More information on COVID-19, the City's response, the latest Directed Health Measures for Lancaster County, and testing is available at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov.