Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today said the COVID-19 Risk Dial is now at red, indicating that the risk of the virus spreading in the community is severe. On the color-coded dial, red represents the highest risk of COVID-19 spread, and green represents the lowest risk. The dial is updated every Friday.
Health Director Pat Lopez said that over the past two weeks, many of the key indicators used to determine the dial position have reached all-time highs. On Wednesday, five additional deaths from COVID-19 were reported, bringing our local number of deaths to 50.
Mayor Gaylor Baird urged the public to focus on flattening the curve at least through the end of November.
"What being in red boils down to is that all of us must take decisive action to get the spread of COVID-19 under control," she said. "Collectively, we have the power to flatten the curve. We know this because we've come together to do it before. So let's take the next 24 days to dig deep and do what's right to protect one another and keep our health care system intact. Lives and livelihoods depend on all of us doing our part to move the needle back out of red."
Lopez said residents need to avoid activities outside the home unless traveling for work, school, food, medical care, or to check on others who may need assistance. More guidance and recommendations are posted at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov.
Lopez also outlined changes to the current Directed Health Measure (DHM) that went into effect November 1. The following changes take effect Monday, November 9:
Lopez also reminded the public that the DHM that went into effect on November 1 also makes the mask mandate apply to public transportation.
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. Lopez reported today on these three primary factors:
Number of new cases: For the past six weeks, the average weekly increase in new cases was holding fairly steady at about 3 to 4 percent per week. But from the week ending October 17 to the week ending October 31, the number of weekly cases increased 38 percent, from 644 to 891, a new all-time high. So far this week, 840 new cases have been reported. The seven-day rolling average of new cases has gone from the upper 90s and low 100s October 15 through 28 to more than 150 cases a day.
Positivity rate: From the week ending October 10 to the week ending October 31, the weekly positivity rate increased 70 percent from 9.6 percent to 16.3 percent, a new high. So far this week the local positivity rate is 20.5 percent.
Hospitalizations: Since October 17, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has nearly doubled - from 52 on November 17 to 100 today (number reported at midnight), a new all-time high.
For more information, visit COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.