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Health Department revokes Lincoln concert venue's event permit after crowded concert
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Health Department revokes Lincoln concert venue's event permit after crowded concert

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and for anyone wondering if it's safe to gather with friends and family amid the pandemic, there may be some good news. Emphasis on "some."By and large, health experts say it's best to stay home this year, especially with coronavirus cases surging nationwide.Updated safety guidelines published by the CDC on Monday note that small gatherings are "an important contributor" to the spike in infection rates. The agency recommends that older adults and others at heightened risk of severe illness avoid being around people outside their households.That said, if it is necessary to travel for the holiday, experts suggest gathering outdoors. They also advise planning ahead to reduce the risks associated with the virus. This includes quarantining for two weeks starting Thursday and getting tested for the disease with enough time to receive the results.A recent survey by the travel site Tripadvisor found that around 56% of people in the U.S. are planning to travel for Thanksgiving.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department revoked the event plan a Lincoln concert venue needs to host larger shows after the venue failed to enforce social distancing Saturday night.

The estimated 500 concertgoers who attended the sold-out Sada Baby show at the Royal Grove on Saturday should quarantine for 14 days, Health Department Director Pat Lopez said, calling the show a potential super-spreader event. 

Images of dozens of maskless fans at the concert standing in front of the stage as the hip-hop artist performed spread through social media and prompted complaints to the Health Department, which had worked with the venue ahead of the concert.

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On Facebook this week, the Royal Grove said its COVID-19 precautions and mask requirements were overwhelmed by the energetic crowd and that the 22 staffers working the event couldn't adequately enforce the health directives.

Venue officials didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Lopez said the venue cannot hold events without an approved event plan and the City Attorney's Office is considering legal action. 

“Having an event plan is important, but ensuring your patrons comply with that plan is essential to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our community,” Lopez said.

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“Our health systems are seriously stressed right now and are caring for more COVID-19 patients than ever before. Activities like this are simply not acceptable at this time and impact our whole community.”

The Health Department strongly urged all those who attended the event to self-quarantine for 14 days to protect others. Those who develop COVID-19 symptoms are also urged to get tested.

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Lancaster County recorded its second straight day of record hospitalizations during the pandemic, with 127 coronavirus cases needing care at Lincoln hospitals, according to the Health Department.

Of those 127 patients, 79 were from outside the county. 

Lancaster County confirmed 234 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday but no new deaths. 

During the pandemic, the county has recorded 11,747 cases, 54 deaths and 4,520 recoveries.

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The rate of positive tests among overall tests remains at a pandemic high of about 30%, according to the department's data dashboard. 

Health officials continue to recommend residents stay home as much as possible, telework if they can, wear masks and avoid gatherings with other households. 

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,209 new cases Wednesday, bringing the total to 89,942. One new death was reported, raising the state total to 731.

Lincoln Public Schools reported 20 positives cases from 15 buildings.

3 deaths, 192 new COVID-19 cases reported in Lancaster County

Images of Lincoln during the pandemic

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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Local government reporter

Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

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For the week ending Saturday, there were 1,700 total cases confirmed in the county, up from 1,200 the prior week. The positivity rate for the past week was 29.3%, up from the previous week's rate of 25%.

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