Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today announced that the COVID-19 Risk Dial at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov will remain in mid-orange, indicating that the risk of the virus spreading in the community is high. On the color-coded dial, red represents "severe," 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. More information on the metrics used by LLCHD is posted online just below the Dial. Scott Holmes, Manager of the Environmental Public Health Division at LLCHD, updated the five primary factors used to determine risk:
Number of new cases: So far this week, 396 new cases have been reported, down from 690 last week, which was a new weekly high. Holmes said the data show that the increase in cases among college-age individuals is now starting to spread into the community. For the week ending August 29, 55 percent of the new cases were in the 18 to 22 age group. For the week ending September 12, that age group made up 35.5 percent of the new cases while the percentages in most other age groups increased.
Positivity rate: The average weekly positivity rate so far this week is 11.7 percent compared to over 13 percent the last two weeks.
Testing capacity: Nearly 70,000 people have been tested in Lancaster County, and testing remains widely available in the community. Over 5,200 tests were completed the week ending September 12. This was a new high for the number of weekly tests conducted, and Holmes said that increase can mainly be attributed to the increased testing on campuses and in the State Corrections System.
Contact tracing capacity: The public health nurses have completed 88 percent of the investigations within 24 hours of receiving the lab reports.
After experiencing delays in receiving lab reports from the State last week, the turnaround time this week has decreased from 3.4 days to 2.7 days. About 70 percent of lab results were received within 48 hours.
Hospital capacity: The number of COVID-19 patients in Lincoln hospitals has been trending higher the past few weeks. Today 30 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized locally.
For more information, visit COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.