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Mayor's Office

2020 Media Releases

July 17, 2020
Media Contact:
Scott Holmes, Environmental Public Health, 402-441-8000

14th COVID-19 Death Reported in Community

Risk Dial stays in "Orange," indicating high risk of virus spread

Mayor Gaylor Baird and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) announced today that today a 14th resident has died from COVID-19 in Lincoln. The individual was a woman in her 70s who was hospitalized. Mayor Gaylor Baird expressed condolences to her family and friends on behalf of the City.

Fifty lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Lincoln today, bringing the community total to 2,363. The number of recoveries is up to 817.

For the second week, the COVID-19 Risk Dial at is at the "Orange" level indicating a high risk of the virus spreading in the community. On the color-coded dial, red represents the highest risk of COVID-19 spread, and green represents the lowest. The dial is updated every Friday.

LLCHD uses five key factors to determine the local COVID-19 Risk Dial position:

Case numbers. From Sunday, July 12, through today, 274 new cases have been reported. LLCHD continues to be concerned that young people who are testing positive will continue to spread the virus to a broader segment of the population. Individuals in the 20 to 29 age group make up about 18.5 percent of our population, but from June 28 through July 16, 54 percent of the new cases have been individuals in that age group.

Positivity rate. After remaining fairly steady for several weeks, the weekly positivity rate is up to about 7 percent the past three weeks. The overall positivity rate is 6.6 percent for Lancaster County, 9.8 percent for the state, and 9.6 for the nation.

Contact tracing capacity. Health Department currently has 34 contact tracers available to conduct case investigations. With a full case load, this would be enough to investigate up to 120 new cases within 24 hours. This capacity is more than sufficient at this time and has kept pace with demand.

Hospital capacity. The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized has increased from nine on July 3 to 22 today. That includes 14 Lancaster County residents and eight from other communities. With an increase in the number of overall cases, LLCHD expects to see an increase in the number of patients needing hospitalization in two to three weeks.

Testing capacity. Since the beginning of this pandemic, 35,578 individuals have now been tested for COVID-19 in Lancaster County. (Each individual counts as one, no matter how many times they are tested.) The average number of tests has been about 2,500 per week, but more than 3,000 tests were completed the week ending July 11.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, repeated shaking with chills, repeated muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.

If you have symptoms, please get tested. Begin the process with a free online risk assessment available at and Testing is by appointment only. Bryan Health offers drive-through testing at LifePointe, 7501 S. 27th Street. CHI Health St. Elizabeth offers drive-through testing at North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd Street.

Test Nebraska will be in Lincoln at North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St. from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 6 p.m. Monday, July 20 through Saturday, July 25. Testing is by appointment only. Begin the process with a free online risk assessment at

Residents are advised to follow these recommendations to protect themselves and others:

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

Mayor's Office
Media Releases