COVID-19 cases escalating in county

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

JASPER — The Indiana State Department of Health reported Friday 129 new COVID-19 cases in Dubois County, the highest number of cases reported in a single day in the county. Shawn Werner, administrative director for the Dubois County Health Department, said this number is still likely to increase in the coming days.

“The community spread is definitely escalating,” he said. “Those individuals who didn’t follow guidelines [around Thanksgiving] are probably becoming symptomatic around this time.”

Werner said the number of reported cases is likely increasing because more people are getting tested after the holiday, but the county is still in the orange zone because its positivity rate — the number of positive test results versus the number of total tests — is still around 10%. Counties in the red zone are those with 15% or higher positivity rates.

Werner said hospital bed availability in the county is down to 12% as of Friday morning and is still likely to decrease.

“People need to start taking this very seriously,” he said. “It could affect you tomorrow.”

ISDH reported Friday 8,003 new cases in all of Indiana, which brings the state to a total of 367,329 residents now known to have had COVID-19.

More younger Dubois County residents have been getting tested than older residents, according to an ISDH database updated Thursday. More than 2,500 people age 19 and under have been tested; about 1,800 people between the ages of 30 and 39 have been tested; about 1,400 people between the ages of 60 and 69 have been tested; and less than 1,000 people between the ages of 70 and 79 have been tested.

In general, the number of positive cases is fairly similar in all age groups, mostly in the 400-range until ages 60 and up, when numbers taper off. But 15 deaths in the county have been people who are 80 or older; 12 have been people ages 70 to 79; only 7 people younger than 70 have died, but were all older than 50.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated quarantine guidelines Wednesday. The guidelines state that quarantine can end after 10 days, instead of the previously stated 14, if the person has not had a COVID-19 test and has not developed any symptoms. It also states that quarantine can end after seven days if the person tests negative for COVID-19 on day five, six or seven and has not developed any symptoms.

These two new options still require that the person adhere to wearing face masks in public, social distancing, hand washing and watching for symptoms through day 14. Those who work with high risk populations or are able to work remotely are still encouraged to quarantine for 14 days, as previously recommended.

Werner said the county health department is recommending the new CDC guidelines, as well.

“We obviously would still prefer the 14 days,” he said. “However, if everybody is smart and uses their best judgment, the two new options could be implemented with minimal risk.”

If you need to get tested for COVID-19, the testing site at the former Ruxer Golf Course building at 400 S. Clay St. in Jasper is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. It is closed on Sunday and Monday.

Register for appointment at https://scheduling.coronavirus.in.gov/. You will have to click “I don’t have an invitation code.” If you do not have internet you can call the primary phone at 812-329-0523. If no one answers, leave a message and they will call you back. Results should be available within 72 hours. If you do not get your results, you can call the Indiana State Department of Health at 1-877-826-0011.

Testing is for anyone who lives or works in Indiana. Anyone can be tested, even those not showing symptoms. There is no charge for the testing. However, if you do have private health care insurance, you are asked to bring that to the testing site.

Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center also has a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site located at the corner of Third Avenue and Rumbach Street in Jasper.

The site is the former Old National Bank building next to Fazoli’s. It replaces drive-thru testing that was previously available at the Urgent Care Center in Huntingburg. A physician/provider order and appointment time are required. Drive-thru times are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 hotline at 812-996-6330 with any questions.

Other options for COVID-19 testing are:

• Memorial Urgent Care (507 E. 19th St., Huntingburg): Patient is evaluated by a provider who determines testing and treatment. Open daily, Monday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

• Memorial Hospital Emergency Department (800 W. 9th St., Jasper): Patient is evaluat




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