COVID-19 cases increased slightly last week in Lancaster County.
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department reported 279 documented cases for the week that ended Saturday, 20 more than the previous week.
Hospitalizations also rose, from an average of 44 the previous week, to 49 last week, and the number of virus particles found in wastewater sampling rose slightly.
But the percentage of COVID-19 tests that were positive declined slightly, to 13% from 13.4% the previous week.
Health officials said the county's COVID-19 risk dial will remain in the mid-yellow range for the third week in a row.
Health Director Pat Lopez encouraged people to get the latest bivalent COVID-19 booster shot if they haven't already. According to local data, nearly half of adults age 65 and over have received the booster, but that number drops to 12% among those age 16 to 64 and 5% among children ages 5 to 15.
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“Even if you’ve had other COVID-19 boosters, it’s important to get the new one now,” Lopez said in a news release. “The bivalent booster offers a big benefit. It provides protection against variants circulating in the community, which weren’t included in the previous vaccines, and it also restores the body’s immunity against COVID-19.”
The trend in local case numbers is similar to that in the rest of Nebraska.
The state reported 2,051 new cases in the week including Thanksgiving, up from 1,997 the previous week and 1,746 the week before that.
But hospitalizations statewide were down last week to a daily average of 155, a significant drop from an average of 180 the previous week.
The state added 31 COVID-related deaths last week, including one in Lancaster County, a woman in her 80s who was hospitalized and vaccinated but not current on her vaccines.
The Omaha World-Herald contributed to this report.
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