Lincoln’s Risk of Covid Spread Remains High — Booster Dose Clinics Being Offered

Lincoln, NE (October 5, 2021)  The Delta Variant continues circulating in Lincoln, but “local conditions are steadily improving” according to Health Director Pat Lopez.  “The daily number of cases continues to drop for the past two weeks” she said.  The positivity rate of covid tests remains high, at 10 percent, and hospital capacity is still stressed according to the weekly report released today.

Lopez said the 7 day rolling average has dropped from 135 new cases per day to around 80 currently.  There has also been a drop in Lancaster County hospitalizations, but an increase in admissions for out-of-county residents.  Currently 107 Covid patients are hospitalized in Lincoln, but only 50 are from Lancaster County.

Russ Gronewold, CEO of Bryan Health, said he is “encouraged” by case rates going down in some areas, but said hospital capacity remains stressed.  92% of those being treated for Covid-19 in Intensive Care, and 80% of the Covid patients overall, are not vaccinated.    Patient capacity is considered to be 540 at Bryan, according to Gronewold.  With 89 Covid patients currently under care, however, there is “incredible pressure” on our staff.

Gronewold said Lancaster County’s high vaccination rate and mask compliance have made it possible for Bryan to “live on the edge” and cope with the unusually high patient numbers.

Deaths from Covid in Lincoln also declined in the past month.  There were 27 in August and 19 in September.  “We feel great sorrow for those family members who lost their loved ones” said Lopez.  She added that 81% of those who died were unvaccinated.

Lopez also reported one death from the virus today in Lincoln, a woman in her 60s who was hospitalized and unvaccinated, raising the Lancaster County pandemic death toll to 290.  53 new cases were also reported today, lower than the 7 day rolling average.

The risk dial remains in the low orange range for the current week, she said, but is moving closer to the yellow category.  Orange indicates a high risk of spread of the virus, and yellow indicates a moderate risk.

74 percent of all adults in Lancaster County are now fully vaccinated, Lopez said.  “We are only about 2,500 people away from our goal of 75%” she said.

Booster doses of Pfizer vaccine are now being offered in clinics throughout the community, and eligible individuals are now being invited to make appointments.  Several pharmacies are also offering the booster doses, according to Lopez.  She added that flu season is beginning, and urged everyone to get vaccinated for that also.