COVID-19 cases on the rise again in Lincoln | Health and Fitness

COVID-19 cases rose last week in Lancaster County for the first time since early July.

According to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, there were 523 cases recorded in the week that ended Saturday, a nearly 20% increase from the 440 cases reported the previous week. It was the first weekly increase since July 9.

The rise in cases seemed inevitable with school back in session and thousands of students and staff gathering daily for hours.

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The total increase in cases last week roughly matched the increase reported by Lincoln Public Schools. According to its dashboard, LPS reported 314 total cases last week, up from 227 the week before, although it counts self-reported cases, while the Health Department does not.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln saw its COVID-19 case numbers more than double last week during its first week of classes, from 31 to 71.

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Despite the rise in cases, the Health Department kept its local COVID-19 risk dial in the yellow, or moderate, range.

Other indicators the local department tracks were generally stable or improved. There was a slight increase in the number of virus particles detected in wastewater, but the average number of people hospitalized for the disease in Lincoln dropped from 44 a day to 40, and the percentage of positive tests declined slightly.

COVID-19 cases also increased statewide last week, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 2,818 cases in Nebraska, up from 2,680 last week but still lower than two weeks ago.

Hospitalizations remained steady, with an average of 200 Nebraska patients hospitalized per day, virtually the same as the week before.

Cases nationally have been slowly falling for the past month, and Nebraska’s case rate continues to be about 20% below the U.S. average.

Nebraska added 10 more COVID-19 deaths to bring the total of confirmed or probable deaths for the pandemic to 4,455.

The Omaha World-Herald contributed to this report.