Public Urged to Follow Precautions Until Vaccine Available

(KFOR NEWS  December 14, 2020)   Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Health Director Pat Lopez said having a COVID-19 vaccine available will prevent illness, save lives and put the country on a path to the end of the pandemic.  Both encouraged  Lancaster County residents to get vaccinated as soon as vaccine is available to them.  Until  then, they urged the public to continue to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus and to follow the current Directed Health Measure, which is in effect until/through December 18.   More information is available at COVID-19.lincoln.ne.gov.

“During this time, particularly as we step into winter and more time spent indoors, we all must redouble our efforts to prevent the spread of the virus to protect ourselves, our community, and our health care system,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird.  “Let’s not lose our focus now that the vaccine is within reach.”

The Mayor and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today said the COVID-19 Risk Dial remains in red for the sixth week, indicating that the risk of the virus spreading in the community is severe. On the color-coded dial, red represents the highest risk of COVID-19 spread, and green represents the lowest risk. The dial is updated every Friday.

The position of the Risk Dial is based on multiple local indicators and information from the previous three weeks. Lopez said some indicators are showing improvement, but not enough to move us out of the red position.

  • The total number of new cases since December 6 is 1,139, and LLCHD expects to see the first decline in weekly cases since the week ending September 19. For the week ending December 5, 2,103 cases were reported, the highest number of the pandemic.
  • The weekly positivity rate also reached an all-time high of 33.9 percent the week ending December 5, but is down to 26.7 percent so far this week. That is the first significant decrease since the week ending October 10.
  • While the number of individuals with COVID-19 who are hospitalized continues to be high, it is down from the peak of 177 patients on November 29. Today, 116 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized locally.

In the first 11 days of December, 39 Lancaster County residents have died from COVID-19. The total number of local deaths so far is 118. Many of the recent deaths were individuals in long-term care facilities, and Lopez said we are seeing a high number of cases being reported in these facilities.

“We continue to work with these facilities along with ICAP – the Infection Control Assessment and Promotion Program,” Lopez said. “ICAP connects quickly to work with facilities on infection control precautions and protocols needed to mitigate the spread of the virus and support the staff in the care of residents impacted. “

For more information, visit COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.

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