COVID-19 Risk Dial moves down into elevated orange

For the first time since the omicron surge began, cases have dropped below a thousand per week. 

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Lancaster County COVID-19 Risk Dial has moved down into the elevated orange category.

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Courtesy of LLCHD

The orange category still shows the risk of the virus spreading and the impact on the community is high.

Health Director Pat Lopez says they made the decision based on a recent decrease in hospitalizations and weekly case numbers. This is the first time the risk dial has been back in orange since Jan. 4.

“The spread of the omicron virus is quickly dissipating in Lincoln and Lancaster County and its impacts in terms of cases and hospitalizations are getting closer to to the sustained improvement we all want to see but were just not quite there yet,” said Lopez.

For the first time since the omicron surge began, cases have dropped below a thousand per week.

Since the county’s peak for the week ending Jan. 15, cases have dropped more than 80%. Last week 809 weekly cases were reported.

The local positivity rate is 16.1%, which Lopez says is still too high and they want the number to be below 10%.

This month, LLCHD reported 17 COVID-19 related deaths in the county.

Lopez says about 66% of Lancaster County residents are fully vaccinated, with 60% of residents ages 12 and up receiving a booster or third dose.

Hospitalizations have also decreased as local hospitals saw a 47% drop in patients since Feb. 1. They have now reported less than 100 patients each day since Feb. 11.

“We anticipate the number of patients hospitalized with covid19 will continue to drop providing welcome relief to our hospitals. It’s important we continue preventative measures right now so we don’t lose the ground we have gained,” said Lopez.

For several weeks, the risk dial remained in the red category, which indicated the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the community is severe.

Last week, Lopez extended the current mask mandate, which now lasts through Feb. 25.  She says the decision was based on the increase in hospitalizations in the county despite the decrease in weekly COVID-19 cases.

When asked about the mask mandate, Lopez says she doesn’t see any reason why it wouldn’t expire on Feb. 25th.

Upcoming vaccination clinics: 

  • Wednesday, February 16, 3:15 to 6 p.m., Fredstrom Elementary School, 5700 NW. 10th St.; 4 to 7 p.m., LLCHD, 3131 “O” St.
  • Thursday, February 17, 4 to 6:30 p.m., Norwood Park Elementary School, 4710 N. 72nd St.
  • Friday, February 18, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., LLCHD


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