Covid 19 Risk Dial Drops To Orange

Lincoln, NE (January 19, 2021) Lincoln’s Covid 19 Risk Dial was lowered from “Red” to “Elevated Orange” Tuesday, even as the City-County Health Department announced that four more people had died from the Corona Virus, and 235 new cases had been confirmed in the past 24 hours.

Health Director Pat Lopez said right now Lincoln’s hospitals continue working on Phase 1-A, the vaccination of health care workers and residents of long term care facilities.  The next step, Phase 1-B, will include people with underlying health conditions that increase their risk of severe illness, essential workers, and people over age 65.  That phase, according to Lopez, will open as soon as vaccines become available.

Lopez announced a new online vaccine registration tool that will launch at 8:00 A.M. Wednesday morning.  The registration will ask how the registrant wants to be notified.  In turn, she says, each person will be notified when they are eligible for an appointment.  It will be found as part of the City’s Covid-19 website, http://covid19.lincoln.ne.gov/

Because of the lowering of the Risk Dial, several changes to the Directed Health Measure (DHM) will go into effect Friday, January 22 and will be in effect through February 21:

  • Gatherings will be limited to no more than 50 percent of occupancy indoors and 75 percent of occupancy in confined outdoor spaces (not to exceed 10,000 individuals either indoors or outdoors).
  • Events with more than 500 people may resume after event approval is received from LLCHD.
  • Restaurants, bars, and other food service establishments may remain open and serve alcohol at all times allowed by local and state law.  Occupancy remains limited to 50 percent of occupancy.  Parties will continue to be limited to eight or fewer individuals and must remain at least six feet apart.
  • Each youth sport participant may have two spectators, and a venue may seek approval from LLCHD to allow additional spectators if the venue can accommodate increased capacity.
  • Groups of youth sport spectators are limited to eight or fewer individuals, and groups must remain at least six feet apart.
  • Door-to-door sales may resume, and Peddler’s Permits may be issued.

The position of the Risk Dial is based on multiple local indicators and information from the previous three weeks.

  • After reaching an all-time high of about 2,100 cases the week ending December 4, case numbers have declined or leveled off.  In the last four weeks, the number of weekly cases has ranged from 926 to 1,203.  For the week ending January 16, 942 new cases were reported.  The seven-day rolling average of new cases shows a holiday bump, increasing from 134 on December 28 to 177 on January 4, but the average has shown a steady decline since then to an average of 136 daily cases on January 17.
  • The positivity rate remains extremely high and was at 28.5 percent the week ending January 16.
  • While testing remains widely available in the community, the number of people getting tested has declined locally and across the State.  Test results can be expected within 24 hours.
  • With the average number of daily cases declining, the case load for doing case investigations has decreased as well.  This helps initiate contract tracing even sooner. The percentage of new cases connected to a previously identified case has been over 80 percent the past two weeks.  Over the previous two weeks, 100 percent of case investigations were completed within two days of LLCHD receiving a positive test notification.
  • The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized locally has flattened out over the last four weeks, with about 100 local residents hospitalized daily.

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