LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — For the first time since the week of Nov. 9, 2021, the COVID-19 risk dial is in the low orange rating, according to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. After many consecutive weeks in the elevated risk range, this marks the second week of a lower rating, on a scale where green represents low risk and red is the highest risk.
The most recent data available shows that there were only 432 new reported COVID cases for the week that ended on Feb. 19, down from nearly 5,000 for the week that ended on Jan. 15. Further, only 42 COVID patients are from Lancaster County out of the 60 being hospitalized locally.
“We’re on the right track and continue to see a significant improvement," said Health Director Pat Lopez. "The pandemic is not over, but each week we’re making progress and getting our community to a better place."
More than 66% of Lancaster County is fully vaccinated. The Directed Health Measure that included a mask mandate expired last Friday, though individual businesses and services may still require a mask such as public transportation and healthcare facilities.
The announcement of the lowered COVID risk dial came on Wednesday with an extra piece of news from Lopez, who also said that the county had received its allotment of at-home COVID test kits from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
At-home test kits are available for pickup on a daily basis from the LLCHD as well as at schools and childcare and cultural centers.