LINCOLN–(News Release Nov. 15)–The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today reported an increase in COVID-19 activity, including cases in some long-term care facilities. There were 185 cases reported for week ending November 11 compared to an average of 113 per week over the last four weeks. Wastewater analysis also shows a rise in viral particles detected.
“This rise in COVID-19 activity is happening when holiday gatherings are right around the corner and we’ll be spending more time with others indoors where respiratory viruses can spread more easily,” said Pat Lopez, Health Director. “Staying up to date on vaccines and taking some simple precautions makes for a safer, healthier holiday season.”
Updated COVID-19 vaccine for this fall and winter is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older and is especially important for people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 including older adults and people with weakened immune systems.
COVID-19 isn’t the only respiratory virus spreading in the community. The Health Department continually monitors data throughout the season and it’s also showing a slight increase in flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases.
LLCHD recommends the following actions to help reduce the spread of illnesses during the holidays:
- Get vaccinated. There are now vaccines available for all three major fall and winter respiratory viruses – COVID, flu and RSV.
- Take a COVID-19 test if attending a gathering or event, or if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID.
- Stay home if you’re sick and avoid contact with others who are sick.
- Wash hands often.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Wear a mask if you have cold, flu or COVID-like symptoms.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces.
New Respiratory Illness Dashboard Now Available
The Health Department launched a new data dashboard that tracks the level of respiratory illnesses in our community. The dashboard is located at lincoln.ne.gov/health.
“We’ve taken data specific to Lancaster County and turned it into a tool the public and our partners can use to track disease trends in the community,” Director Lopez said.
The respiratory illness dashboard will be updated weekly and includes the following information:
- An overview of total tests and positive tests by year, including the percentage of positive tests
- Positive and negative tests by week
- Total tests by week
- Test type by week
- Percent positivity by week
COVID-19 Dashboard Updates Continue
The COVID-19 dashboard continues to be updated on weekdays and contains the latest data on cases, testing, wastewater surveillance, deaths and vaccinations. The Health Department recently made updates to the vaccination sections of the dashboard to reflect the latest federal recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine including the definition of being up to date. Currently, about 30,000, or one in 10 Lancaster County residents, are up to date. The COVID-19 dashboard is located at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov.