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After a week in which Lancaster County shattered its record for weekly COVID-19 cases, local officials say things are likely to only get worse over the next few weeks.
But they are not ready to make decisions they made earlier in the pandemic, such as requiring masks or limiting activities in the community.
Lancaster County reported 2,893 COVID-19 cases for the week ending Saturday. That was about 800 more cases than it recorded in any other week since the pandemic began. In the past two weeks, case numbers have soared 195%.
The local COVID-19 risk dial remained in the red, or severe, category for the second week in a row, and Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Director Pat Lopez said the local situation is so severe that she recommends people only leave the house to go to work or school, get medical care or shop for necessities such as food or medicine.
“If you don’t think our situation is urgent, you’re wrong,” Lopez said. “If you’re sick of COVID, now is not the time to become complacent.”
She said people must be prepared for conditions to get worse before they get better, noting that she expects case counts will continue to rise, leading to more hospitalizations.
Unlike many other areas of the country, Lincoln is well below its record level of COVID-19 hospitalizations, but they are going up. There were 142 COVID-19 patients in Lincoln hospitals Tuesday, including 96 who are Lancaster County residents. Hospital numbers have not been that high in more than a year. Lopez said 92% of local intensive-care beds are occupied.