Lincoln, NE (September 14, 2021) Health Director Pat Lopez had good news Tuesday in her weekly Covid 19 briefing.
“Our number of Covid 19 cases is slowing, and leveling off” she said at the beginning of the briefing. She added several times, however, that it is too early to say for sure that the outbreak has reached its peak.
The current 7 day rolling average of new cases is 106 per day, according to figures provided by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. Individual days have seen as many as 150 cases recently, and six people have died in September.
The metrics that drive the Covid 19 risk dial have led to its remaining in the middle of the orange range for the coming week, indicating a high risk of spread.
“We are getting closer to our goal of 75% vaccination” Lopez said. “We strongly urge everyone eligible to receive the vaccine” she added.
Lopez said hospital capacity continues to be a serious concern. The seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 patients in local hospitals more than doubled from 50 on August 1 to 106 on September 11. Lopez said the increase had slowed at the end of last week and was holding steady at about 106 patients. But she said hospitals have seen another increase in the last couple of days, mostly from patients outside of Lancaster County. Today, 119 COVID-19 patients are reported hospitalized, with 72 from Lancaster County and 47 from other communities. Twenty local patients are on ventilators.
The Health Director explained the indicators that drive the position of the Risk Dial:
The percent of the Lancaster County population age 16 and older that is fully vaccinated is now 72.2%. Nearly 5,500 vaccinations have been administered so far in September, and more than 3,000 were second doses.
The Directed Health Measure (DHM) remains in effect through September 30. It requires all individuals ages two and older – regardless of vaccination status – to wear a face mask when they are in an indoor space. The DHM requires all building operators and owners to ensure their patrons ages two and older wear masks. For a list of exceptions to the mask requirement and more information on the DHM, visit covid19.lincoln.ne.gov or call 402-441-6280.
Lopez said everyone should continue to monitor their health and to be on the alert for fever, cough, shortness of breath and other symptoms of COVID-19. Even if you are vaccinated, you should separate yourself from others and get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.