Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today said the COVID-19 Risk Dial remains at elevated orange for the fourth week, 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.
Health Director Pat Lopez said the Risk Dial is on the verge of moving into red. "Our case numbers have been high for the last seven weeks, but our data right now is fairly steady, unlike what we are seeing in Douglas, Sarpy, Hall, and Buffalo counties in Nebraska and in areas across our nation," Lopez said. "Being on the edge of going into red on the Risk Dial is not a good place to be, and we need our whole community united to fight the virus."
Among the top five most populous counties in Nebraska, Lopez said Lancaster County has the lowest fatality rate and the fewest number of cases per 100,000 residents. This data is from Johns Hopkins' Coronavirus Resource Center.
|County||COVID-19 Fatality Rate
total deaths/confirmed cases
Three local residents have died from COVID-19 since Sunday. So far this month, 21 local residents have died from the virus, the highest number of deaths in a one-month period. The 21 deaths are 46 percent of all the deaths reported locally so far.
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. Five primary factors are used to determine risk:
Number of new cases: So far this week, 593 new cases have been reported. For the week ending October 24, 741 cases were reported, a new weekly high. About 53 percent of the total Lancaster County cases have occurred in September and October.
Hospitalizations: Lopez said local hospitals are concerned about being able to maintain enough staffed beds if our community's situation continues to worsen. The average daily number of COVID-19 patients in Lincoln hospitals in the month of October is 60, the highest average of any month during the pandemic. Lopez said many of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients are seriously ill and will need care for many weeks.
Testing capacity: Nearly 102,000 people have been tested in Lancaster County, and testing remains widely available in the community. So far this week about 3,400 tests have been completed.
Contact tracing capacity and testing turnaround time: Staffing for contact tracing has been expanded to manage the higher numbers of case reports. While testing remains widely available in the community, the effectiveness of testing is highly dependent on how quickly the laboratory results are provided to LLCHD. The average turnaround time has improved over the past two weeks. For the week ending October 24, 73 percent of all results were received within two days. So far this week, 88 percent have been received in two days or less.
For more information, visit COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.