Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird ordered stricter quarantine guidelines on Wednesday afternoon after the city's third confirmed coronavirus case was reportedly one resulting from community spread.
The confirmed case on Tuesday was a 50-year-old man with no travel history. He is hospitalized, and his contacts are self-quarantining.
Ameritas headquarters closed after employee tests positive for COVID-19
The city will undertake steps similar to Omaha, taking effect at 8 a.m. Thursday, which include:
* No gatherings over 10 for any reason in a single space.
* For gatherings of less than 10, a 6-foot separation must be maintained.
The restrictions apply to gyms, auditoriums and restaurants. Previously, these measures were recommended, but not ordered.
This order will have the force of law, but the mayor said she expects people to comply. If they don't, health officials will reach out, and police enforcement will be used as a last resort, she said.
“This next phase brings hardship,” she acknowledged.
She said many businesses are already feeling impacts, and her staff and is working with federal and state partners for relief.
The city's first confirmed case occurred Friday when a 48-year-old Lincoln man was confirmed positive for the COVID-19. The man initially exhibited symptoms March 15 and visited his health care provider the next day after returning from a trip to Colorado on March 9. The second case was one of the man's family members.
Also on Tuesday, Ameritas, one of Lincoln’s largest employers, closed its O Street headquarters after learning an employee had been diagnosed with COVID-19, though the case had not yet been confirmed by the city.
The insurance and financial products company typically employs about 820 people at its headquarters just west of Gateway Mall, but the majority have been working from home since March 16 — leaving fewer than 250 people in the building this week, the company said in a release.
The employee diagnosed with COVID-19 worked in the headquarters from March 11 to March 16, when they began displaying symptoms and went home.
The company was told of the diagnosis Tuesday.
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