Lincoln mask mandate returns as COVID-19 cases rise | Health and fitness - Market News
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Lincoln mask mandate returns as COVID-19 cases rise | Health and fitness

Lincoln mask mandate returns as COVID-19 cases rise |  Health and fitness

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising and local hospitals under pressure, city officials announced Friday that they are bringing back Lincoln’s mask mandate.

The mandate, which requires face coverings in all indoor public areas, takes effect Saturday and runs through Feb. 11.

Lancaster County had a mask mandate all fall, but officials let it expire on Dec. 23, saying at the time vaccination rates were high and more tools were available to both prevent and treat the disease.

But that was before the ommicron wave hit locally. The highly contagious variant has led to a rising number of cases. Lancaster County had nearly 2,900 cases last week, a pandemic record for a single week, and as of Friday morning, 3,000 cases had already been registered this week.

While the omicron variant has been shown to cause milder illness, the sheer number of cases leads to more hospitalizations. There were 142 COVID-19 patients in Lincoln hospitals on Tuesday, the highest number since December 2020. The numbers have declined slightly since then, but remain at the highest level in a year.

Bryan Health said Thursday it has been implementing many of its crisis care practices for several months, including repurposing space, restricting elective surgeries and declining many transfer requests.