LIVE at 3:30PM: COVID-19 Risk Dial remains at Severe Risk; Mayor to announce new restrictions

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and health officials announced several new restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Friday.

LLCHD reports 161 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lancaster County, bringing the community total to 12,284. The number of deaths remains at 57.

The COVID-19 Risk Dial remains in the Severe Risk Category (Red).

According to officials, in less than three weeks COVID-19 patients have nearly tripled in Lincoln, which have gone from 51 on Oct. 21 to 142 as of midnight, Nov. 13.

CHI Health announced that all elective cases which require a hospital bed, and can be delayed for four weeks or more, have been postponed.

Bryan Health announced that they will only be taking urgent and emergent surgeries starting on Monday. In order to make more room for COVID-19 cases and hospital beds, several rooms will be converted.

Bryan Health mentioned it typically has supply of staffed beds maxed at 530. During COVID it’s stretched that to 562, however it’s routinely getting close to or exceeding those numbers. Officials said they will find beds for patients, but if trend continues, that won’t be possible anymore.

“Whatever you’ve heard of the capabilities and the supply of bed, I want you to hear this,” said Russ Groneworld, President and CEO of Bryan Health. “There are no more beds. There are no more beds at Bryan if we keep doing what we’re doing. And I’m on the calls with hospitals across the state, every hospital across the state can be on that call, and I’m hearing the exact same thing…There are no more beds, or there are no more staff to take care of folks.”

New Directed Health Measures will take place on Monday, Nov. 16:

  • Indoor gathers will be limited to 10 people or 25% capacity.
  • All events with a capacity of 500 or more must be postponed until Dec. 7. Venues with a capacity of 500 or more people that are planning events after Dec. 7 must have an event plan, regardless of how many people plan to attend. Previously, those venues only had to submit plans if attendance was expected to be more than 500.
  • All businesses that sell alcohol must end alcohol sales no later than 10 p.m. and must close no later than 11 p.m.
  • All indoor team sports for youth are postponed until after Dec. 7.
  • Individuals must wear masks indoor unless no one else is the same room and can maintain six feet of separations from others.
  • Licensed companies who allow for consumption of alcohol on city streets, such as pedal pubs or party busses, may not operate until after Dec. 7.
  • This DHM will last until Dec.7 and will be adjusted as needed.

Lincoln Public schools announced several changes to the student calendar to support additional time for staff:

  • There will be no class for students on Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24. Students will have no classes on the two days before Thanksgiving Break.
  • Community Learning Centers will be organized to offer services on those days. Families can check with the CLC leaders for more details.
  • Teachers will have the flexibility to work from home. All LPS staff will report as assigned by the LPS Supervisor.
  • LPS High School Students and Middle School Students will return to classes on Monday, Nov. 30, Elementary return on Dec. 1.

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