LINCOLN–(News Release Feb. 18)–Due to significant declines in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today announced that the local Directed Health Measure (DHM) will end at 11:59 p.m. tonight, Friday, February 18. The measure, which includes a mask mandate for individuals ages 2 and older, was originally scheduled to end February 25.

The number of new COVID-19 cases has dropped 80% over the past four weeks, and the seven-day average of new daily cases is now less than 100. The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized locally has decreased 47% since February 1, and hospitals have reported less than 100 COVID-19 patients each day since February 11. The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized locally today is 62, with 45 from Lancaster County.

“Thank you to all those who have taken the precautions to slow the spread of the virus,” said Health Director Pat Lopez. “Our collective actions are helping our community come through this surge. Together, we’ve helped our hospitals preserve capacity, our schools keep classrooms open, and limited disruptions to local businesses. COVID-19 is moving to a level that is more manageable, but the pandemic is not over. COVID-19 is unpredictable, and if our local situation changes, we will re-evaluate the current recommendations and make adjustments as necessary.”

The COVID-19 Risk Dial is at elevated orange, indicating that the risk of the virus spreading and the impact on the community is high. LLCHD continues to recommend that residents wear a mask indoors. Masks will still continue to be required for those using public transportation and by most health care facilities. Vaccinations and boosters are strongly encouraged for all those age 5 and older.

The latest public health guidance and vaccine information is available at or by calling the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.