Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Director Pat Lopez has extended the mask mandate and other coronavirus restrictions through Halloween in a new directed health measure.
The previous health measure was set to expire Sept. 30. Health officials updated the measure on the city's COVID-19 website but did not publicize the extension in a news release.
"(The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department) has extended it through October to provide plenty of notice to the community about DHM requirements so residents can make appropriate decisions to keep themselves and their families safe during the pandemic," said Scott Holmes, who manages the department's Environmental Public Health Division. "The DHMs will be adjusted as needed based on current local conditions."
The county reported 86 new cases Wednesday but no new COVID-19 deaths. The new cases raised the pandemic total to 5,388, which includes 2,113 documented recoveries.
Lincoln hospitals cared for 29 COVID-19 patients Wednesday, only nine of whom were county residents.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln reported 18 new positive cases Wednesday, bringing its total for the fall semester to 656.
Lincoln Public Schools had two new cases, in three buildings: one case in Pound Middle School and one person who tested positive was in both North Star High School and Elliott Elementary School. That brings the total since school started to 85.
Statewide, cases grew by 449 on Wednesday, pushing Nebraska's totals to 39,419 cases, 29,966 recoveries and 439 deaths.
Hospitalizations because of COVID-19 in Nebraska have remained steady for three weeks, with 176 patients reported Wednesday. Of those, 99 are hospitalized in the metro Omaha area.
Lancaster County implemented Nebraska's first mask mandate July 20 as COVID-19 cases were rising.
Health officials then said it was a temporary measure and have kept it in place as the community adjusts to the return of students to schools and colleges.
People seated or eating or drinking at a bar or restaurant, exercising, seeking government service, working in an occupation that prevents mask-wearing or those with a health condition remain exempt from mask-wearing, which is otherwise required while inside places open to the public.
The new directed health measure took effect Monday and carries forward many of the restrictions on gatherings that had been in place.
But included in the restrictions is a new rule limiting capacity on pedal pubs and party buses to no more than 50% of their capacity.