City of Lincoln and Lancaster County Coronavirus (COVID-19) - How to Help

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Lincoln COVID-19 Response Fund

This fund will provide resources to nonprofit organizations responding to the coronavirus pandemic in Lincoln. Hosted by Lincoln Community Foundation and led by a coalition of leaders from across the community, the Fund will provide resources to organizations in Lincoln working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Interested nonprofits may apply here for COVID-19 response funds.

NeighborLNK

The NeighborLNK program is designed to facilitate personal connections by directly linking volunteers with seniors (age 60 and over) or persons with disabilities who are homebound and seeking additional support as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The program is designed to help keep homebound residents healthy, connected, and independent during the physical isolation required by the pandemic, as well as to cultivate bonds of friendship that could potentially last beyond the pandemic.

NeighborLNK volunteers will do errands for the participants and offer companionship through phone or video calls. COVID-19 precautions will be followed, and volunteers will not enter participants' homes.

Use a Cloth Face Cover in Public
Wear a mask to protect yourself and others

Transmission probabilities with and without masks (courtesy Bryan Health)

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do not use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • DIY Cloth Face Coverings

Sewing for Hospitals - "Hats/Masks for Hospitals" is a program by Lancaster County 4-H and UNL Lancaster Extension Education that coordinates volunteers to provide hats and masks for Bryan Health.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cloth Face Covers

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Why is this being recommended now?

We are seeing more cases of community spread COVID-19 in Lincoln and Lancaster County. There is increased evidence that people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus and that droplets produced when breathing, speaking, coughing or sneezing may spread COVID-19 from person to person.

What is a cloth face covering?

A cloth face covering is material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand.

Is it possible to make my own face covering?

A face covering can made out of cloth, or a bandana or scarf fitted closely to cover the nose and mouth without gaps. Use fabrics like heavy cotton t-shirt or pillowcase material. You can find patterns and directions online.

How well do cloth face coverings work to prevent spread of COVID-19?

Some evidence suggests that use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. The primary role of a face covering is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing and washing hands and staying home when ill, but they may be helpful when combined with these primary interventions.

When should I wear a cloth face covering?

You should wear a cloth face covering when you must be in public for essential activities such as medical care, getting medications, or groceries. Wearing a cloth face covering does not eliminate the need to physically distance yourself from others.

Who should and should not wear cloth face coverings?

Children under age two and those who have breathing difficulties should not wear a face covering.

If no one is sick in your household, you do not need to wear a face covering when at home. People who are sick should wear a face covering while at home if they cannot remain isolated and cannot maintain at least six feet of distance from others. People who are sick and who need to leave home for urgent medical care should always wear a face covering.

Do I need to wear a face covering when I am exercising?

No, as long as you stay at least six feet from others. People should only do exercise that enables them to keep physical distance from others. Walking, running, and biking are good examples of activities that do not require shared equipment or close contact with others.

How should I care for a cloth face covering?

Wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. Keep cloth face coverings in a separate paper bag or bin until they can be laundered with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.

Discard cloth face coverings that:

  • No longer cover the nose and mouth
  • Have stretched out or damaged ties or straps
  • Cannot stay on the face
  • Have holes or tears in the fabric
Are there precautions I should take with my face covering?
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer each time you put on and remove the covering. Hands should also be washed after removing the face covering. People should avoid touching their faces and the face coverings while wearing them.
  • Do not put a used face covering in places where others can touch them or where germs trapped in your face covering can touch other surfaces, such as counter tops or your kitchen table.
  • Do not throw your face covering loose into a bag or backpack. Store your face covering in a paper bag if you will be taking if off when outside the house.
How long can I use a paper face covering?

If you use a paper face covering that is not for health care workers, it is recommended that you use a new one every day. Used paper masks should be thrown out at the end of the day.

More information on how to protect yourself and others is available at the CDC website.

Practice Healthy Habits

Continue to practice healthy habits:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Stay home when you are sick .
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

When you shop:

  • Stay home if you are sick or if you have symptoms of COVID-19 - fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  • Seniors and others at risk for complications from the virus should take advantage of special hours for them at retailers.
  • Arrange for groceries to be delivered, or use the store’s curbside pickup service.
  • Only one person in a household should go to the store.
  • Limit grocery shopping to one trip a week.
  • Make a list to limit your time in the store.
  • Wear a face covering and disposable gloves.
  • Do not take backpacks or reusable bags.
  • Use the wipes provided by the stores to clean grocery cart handles
  • Take a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others.
  • Pay attention to one-way aisles and floor markings at the checkouts.
  • Only touch products you intend to buy, especially produce.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes and nose.
  • Cover sneezes and coughs.
  • Instead of using cash, pay for items with credit or debit cards, or use epay options.
  • When you get home, wash your hands, wash all produce, and use wipes for other purchases.
  • Do not return items to the store.
Keep Physical Distance

Follow guidelines for physical distancing and crowd size limits. Even if you aren't showing symptoms of any illness, you could still be carrying the virus and unknowingly spread it to people with compromised immune systems.

Support Local Businesses

If you have the means, continue to support local businesses:

  • Purchase gift cards for future use, if they are offered. Some local gift cards can be found at NebraskaBuyLocal.com.
  • Order take-out or delivery. Many restaurants that don't usually offer these options are making exceptions.
    • Take advantage of free parking spots downtown designated for curbside pickup by looking for the green curbside pickup signs. This site also contains a list of restaurants and establishments downtown offering curbside pickup.
  • Support businesses that are still operating during this period. For a list of open businesses, see the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce’s business operation updates and this COVID-19 Lincoln business directory hosted by oh hello!.
  • Purchase a Small Businesses, Big Hearts t-shirt designed by one of Lincoln’s own small businesses. Profits go toward supporting small businesses across the state.
  • Tip generously if you can afford it. Tipped workers are some of the first to suffer in times of economic distress.
  • If you're able to work from home and still earn your normal salary, commit to paying someone who provides you with a service – such as a hairdresser or a babysitter – even if they have to stay home.
Volunteer and Reach Out Safely
  • Nebraska Impact has organized a portal at NEvolunteers.com/lincoln for connecting people with opportunities to volunteer with or donate to Lincoln organizations. Volunteers can choose "COVID-19" under "select a category."
  • Service Opportunities during COVID-19 provides volunteer opportunities in the City of Lincoln. If you would like to volunteer or have an unmet need, you can request to have your opportunity listed in Lincoln’s GivePulse portal, a volunteer signup web portal. If you are looking to serve, current opportunities are listed below.
  • Reach out to those you know who are isolated or may be at high risk. Ask how they are doing and check in with them regularly.
  • Start a group text with your neighbors and friends to keep up on one another's health and needs.
  • The COVID-19 Mutual Aid Lincoln/Omaha Facebook Group is one way to offer and provide support to community members with specific needs.
  • Start a virtual book club or arrange virtual playdates.
  • Do not hoard supplies like hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Panic buying these items will make it harder for at-risk groups to get the things that they need.
  • Make an appointment to donate blood if you can safely do so. Blood banks have been faced with a severe blood shortage as a result of blood drive cancellations. Eligible and healthy donors may make an appointment with the American Red Cross or the Nebraska Community Blood Bank to provide lifesaving blood products to patients.
Volunteer for the Tenant Assistance Project

The Tenant Assistance Project is dedicated to providing access to free attorneys to tenants facing eviction in Lancaster County Court. Most tenants facing eviction cannot afford an attorney, and evidence shows that access to an attorney can help prevent homelessness.

The program is currently seeking volunteer attorneys to represent tenants in a limited scope capacity. Volunteer attorneys will be appropriately trained, have malpractice insurance coverage, and will have the chance to provide an invaluable public service.

Interested volunteers should contact the Volunteer Lawyers Project by emailing nevlp@nevlp.org or calling 531-220-6773.

Lastest COVID-19 News Releases

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