Lincoln, NE (August 18, 2020) The City-County health department reports 15 new cases of Covid 19 in Lincoln and Lancaster County today, continuing a 3 week downtrend, according to Health Director Pat Lopez.

“The number of cases per week has dropped 56% in the last three weeks, from a high of 360 to just 158 cases for the week ending August 15th.”

In addition, she said, in the same three weeks since the mask mandate went into effect the rate of positive tests has been dropping also.

“The rate went from a high of 8.3% the week ending July 25th down to 5.6% the week ending August 15th.”

The number of people being tested weekly for corona virus in Lincoln is going down. Lopez says she doesn’t know why, but says anyone who wants or needs a test can get one. She also said that, of the major testing labs, only Quest, the lab serving CVS and Med Express, has been lagging in returning results.

“Quest has a poor turnaround time of nearly 6 days.  This is an unacceptable time lag which makes the testing almost worthless in terms of preventing the spread of the virus.”

Lopez said Bryan health, CHI St. Elizabeth, and Test Nebraska are all returning results in 2-3 days or less, making contact tracing much more effective.

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird is urging everyone to consider getting a flu shot earlier than usual this year.  Flu season normally begins in October and peaks in February. This year, the corona virus will change things.

“To have the best chance at achieving immunity throughout the flu season, September and October are the best times to get vaccinated.”

The Mayor added that later is better than not at all, adding that anyone who can avoid the flu will ease the burden on the health care system.