More Deaths, Possible Rise In Cases Leave Covid Risk Dial In Red

Lincoln, NE (January 5, 2020) Lincoln and Lancaster County lost three more residents to Covid 19 today, according to Health Department Figures, pushing the pandemic death toll up to 161.  The deaths included two women who were hospitalized, one in her 40s and one in her 90s, and a man in his 70s in a long-term care facility.

Case numbers have leveled off after falling for several weeks, and a new, more contagious strain is beginning to move across the nation.  All of those factors, and more, will hold the County’s Covid 19 risk dial in the Red category for the ninth straight week.

In her 100th briefing since the beginning of the Pandemic, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said vaccinations are moving along nicely, and added that we have the real possibility of putting an end to the Pandemic this year.

City County Health Director Pat Lopez said she is pleased with the pace of the vaccination program, but called it a huge undertaking.  So far, she said, the County has received 9,800 doses and 7,400 have been administered.  She explained the factors behind maintaining the “Red” status:

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

  • After peaking at 2,113 new cases the week ending December 5, the number of weekly cases steadily decreased in December.  Cases, however, have now increased from 926 the week ending December 26 to 1,202 the week ending January 2.  The seven-day rolling average also declined in December but has increased from an average of 132 cases on December 26 to 166 on January 3.
  • The positivity rate also dropped in December from 33.8 percent the week ending December 5 to 25.6 percent the week ending December 26.  This past week, however, the rate increased to 33.7 percent.
  • While testing remains widely available in the community, the number of people getting tested has declined locally and across the State.  Turnaround time has improved, and results can be expected within 24 hours.
  • The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized locally declined from a peak high of 177 on November 29 to 83 patients on December 24.  Hospitalizations are back up to 100 today, with 65 patients from Lancaster County and 35from other communities.

In December, 74 Lancaster County residents died from COVID-19, and eight have died so far in January.  Those 82 deaths are more than half of the community’s 161 COVID-19 deaths.