County Health Department offers guidance for events amid coronavirus outbreak

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department issued public guidance for public gatherings and events to limit the spread of coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, in our community.

LLCHD is not making decisions regarding canceling or postponing events.  The Health Department’s recommendations for those who are planning events are based on guidance from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

At this time, no confirmed cases of coronavirus have been identified locally. Officials are recommending that the size of events and public gatherings be limited to less than 250 people. Once community transmission has begun locally, the recommendation will be to limit the size of events and public gatherings to no more than 50 people. Currently, those who are sick and those who are at a higher risk for serious illness are urged to stay home and limit contact with others as much as possible.

Those planning events with more than 250 people expected to attend are urged to reconsider and advised to consider risk factors such as the age of attendees, the number of people coming from large geographic areas, and whether the setting will be too crowded to allow for people to keep more than an arm’s length away from each other.  Keep in mind that older adults and people with underlying health conditions like diabetes, heart or lung disease or compromised immune systems are most at risk.

“We understand that it is difficult to cancel or postpone events that you may have been planning for a long time,” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.  “Right now, however, we all must focus on reducing transmission of this virus.  These social distancing measures can help delay and slow the spread of the disease and save lives.”

Many local events have already been canceled or postponed.  Residents planning to attend an event are advised to call ahead or visit the event website to check if the event is still being held.

Health officials recommend these steps to reduce the spread of any respiratory virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Greet others with a smile instead of a handshake or hug.