Lincoln mayor outlines 5 key factors for relaxing DHM

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird on Monday outlined five key factors guiding officials as they make decisions about relaxing social distancing and directed health measures for the city. 
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Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird on Monday outlined five key factors guiding officials as they make decisions about relaxing social distancing and directed health measures for the city.

The current directed health measure (DHM) for Lancaster County is set to expire May 6.

The five factors are:

  • Testing capacity – The number of tests available in the community. Gaylor Baird announced Monday testing capacity in Lincoln is set to double this week from 150 to 300.
  • Daily cases – Recently, Lincoln has seen an uptick in the number of cases. The 36 cases reported Sunday and Monday represent nearly a quarter of the 156 total cases reported so far. Gaylor Baird said the city needs to see a two-week period of declining cases in order to feel confident about beginning to loosen restrictions. The increase in positive cases is a result of the increased testing capacity, officials have said.
  • The positivity rate – This is the number of people who test positive out of the total number tested. Prior to April, the positivity rate for Lincoln had been as low as 2%. It is now closer to 5%. The rate for the past seven days was closer  to 6%.
  • The strength of the local health care system – Gaylor Baird said officials need to feel confident the ability of local hospitals to handle cases. To date, Bryan Health and CHI Health officials have said they have rooms and ventilators available to handle a surge.
  • Public health capacity – To mitigate possible outbreaks, Gaylor Baird said the county must have enough trained staff to conduct contact tracing – the term used for investigating how people were exposed and who they’ve had contact with. The number of contact tracers in Lincoln will be increased from 8-10 to 28 following additional training being conducted.

Mayor Gaylor Baird said that until a vaccine is available, some degree of physical distancing measures will be needed to reduce the risk of future outbreaks. She said individuals at high risk for developing severe cases of COVID-19 most likely will need to continue to stay home, and face coverings will continue to be needed to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Think of the process not as an on-and-off switch but instead like a dimmer switch,” she said. “We won’t be flipping on a switch but rather will be easing off the measures and practices in order to prevent flare-ups that derail our progress on the road to recovery.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Lancaster, News