Covid Spread Risk Remains High In Lancaster County

Lincoln, NE (September 7, 2021)  Health Director Pat Lopez labels the situation in Lancaster County as “critical”, but says there is indication in the past week that the number of cases is “leveling off” this week.  The Covid-19 Risk Dial will remains in the mid-orange section this week, she said today, indicating a continued high risk of spread.

The 7 day rolling average is showing signs of flattening, she said.  At the beginning of August it was 58 new cases per day.  By the end of August it had grown to 136.  Today, she said, it has fallen to 127 cases per day.

“Vaccination remains the best protection against the Virus”, Lopez repeated, “and it can also help protect those who have already had the virus from re-infection.”  She added that nearly 70% of Lancaster County’s eligible population is now fully vaccinated, the highest rate in the State.

Lopez said the current Directed Health Measures remain in effect through the end of September.  Masks are required in all buildings that are open to the public.

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.

New information has been added to the COVID-19 dashboard to show a more detailed breakdown of cases by age. Health Director Pat Lopez said a high number of cases in the younger age groups reflects outbreaks in childcare facilities and an increase in cases related to schools.

”This reinforces the importance of masking, both in preventing illness and reducing the number of students that have to be excluded and quarantined,” Lopez said. “We continue to work closely with all our schools to keep kids healthy and in the classroom. This is essential for learning and for their social and emotional development.”

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

  • In August, 30 Lancaster County residents died from COVID-19.  Nine were under the age of 60, and all nine were unvaccinated.  From March through August, 52 local residents have died from COVID-19, and 83% were unvaccinated.
  • The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases decreased from 136 on August 30 to 127 September 2.
  • The local positivity rate was over 12% for the week ending September 4. That rate still indicates that the delta variant continues to be widespread in Lancaster County.
  • The seven-day rolling  daily average of COVID-19 patients hospitalized has been between 81 and 84 the past eight days, but 93 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized today, with 63 from Lancaster County.

The percent of the Lancaster County population age 16 and older that is fully vaccinated is now 71.6%. Nearly 22,000 vaccinations were provided to Lancaster County residents in August. About 60% were initiating vaccination, and about 40% were getting their second dose.