Dubois County is virus hot spot

Courtesy Dubois County Emergency Management

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Dubois County has seen an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases in the county.

The county is No. 1 in the state for the number of cases per capita detected as positive in the past seven days, making Dubois County a hot spot for the virus.

This surge has health officials concerned.

“I was shocked to see it,” County Health Officer Dr. Ted Waflart said. “I knew things weren’t going great. But I never dreamed that we were doing worse than any other place in the state.”

To compare all counties, the number of cases a county has is converted to reflect what the number would be if 100,000 people lived in the county. Based on that, Dubois County has had in the past seven days 239 cases per 100,000 people. Marshall County is in second place with 210 cases, Posey is in third with 185, and Vanderburgh is fourth with 184 cases. The state’s per capita number for the past seven days is 79.

This shows that Dubois County has the largest growth of positive cases among all Indiana counties. And it shows why residents and officials need to do all they can to try to stop the spread of the virus.

See a breakdown of Dubois County's COVID-19 cases by ZIP code

“It’s serious,” County Emergency Management Director Tammy Humbert said. “It’s a very serious situation we’re in.”

And the majority of the county’s positive cases are not seniors: they’re among the younger populations.

“We’re seeing it in our 20s to 50-year-olds. Nearly 90% of people who are getting it are below the age of 60,” said Shawn Werner, administrative director of the Dubois County Health Department. “That’s why we’re not seeing the huge number of hospitalizations and deaths from this, because it’s still in our younger population.”

According to information compiled by the Indiana State Department of Health, the biggest percentages of the positive cases in Dubois County are among those who are ages 20 to 49. In that, 20.9% are 40 to 49, 19.8% are 30 to 39, and 19.3% are 20 to 29. Those younger than 20 years old make up 12.8% of the cases, and 50- to 59-year-olds are 15.7%.

Among the older generation, 6.3% of the positive cases are people age 60 to 69, 3.1% are 70 to 79, and 3.1% are 80 and older.

“If it gets into our older population because the younger population now gets it and spreads it to their grandparents, then we may see that trend change,” Werner said. “And that’s what we want to try to avoid.”

“It’s in the younger generation right now,” Humbert said, “and they are not getting ill. Some of them are not even showing symptoms. What we worry about is people not wearing masks to protect our population that could be prone to this highly contagious disease that we’re dealing with.”

There are a lot of assumptions in the community right now that are not correct, Humbert said.

“They’re assuming that it’s either in the factories or it’s in a business. What we’re finding is that this is community spread,” she said. “It is not in just certain locations. This is community spread.”

Officials are noticing that people are getting tested because they think they have the virus. “And then they’re still going on about their business,” Humbert said. “They’re still going shopping, still going to church, still going to work. And then they get the results back, and the results are positive. Now they’ve been to all these places.”

STORY: Officials considering mask mandate

It can take up to four to five days to get test results back. “So that’s four to five days of possibly infecting people,” Humbert said.

“If they’re fearful that they may have COVID and they go to be tested,” Werner said, “then staying at home till they receive those results would be the right thing to do.”

Werner said that staying home after you’ve been tested is best.

“People go get tested because they had an inkling that they were either a close contact or they may have the virus, or something to that effect,” he said. “Stay home until you get your results. And you know if you’re a close contact, you’re supposed to be staying home for 14 days anyway.”

People are not staying home.

Here's the difference between quarantine and isolation: COVID-19-Quarantine-vs-Isolation.pdf

“Another huge problem is everybody is just continuing to go on and not taking the quarantine recommendation into effect,” Werner said. “If you’re sick or tested, stay home. And if you do get a negative result and you’re a close contact, you still have to complete the 14-day quarantine period.

“The test is only a snapshot of that day. It doesn’t mean the next day you can’t become positive."

People are also getting incorrect information from what they see on social media, Waflart said.

“Don’t rely on social media for information,” he said. “Get your information from credible sources: the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the Indiana State Department of Health. Don’t jump at the first thing you hear. Check with an authority.”

Dubois County COVID-19 Cases
Infogram

Local COVID-19 testing sites

For those who have symptoms of COVID-19:

Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center’s Urgent Care Center is available for patients who do not require emergency department services but who have symptoms of COVID-19.

Location: 507 E. 19th St., Huntingburg

Phone: 812-683-4717

Hours of operation: 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For those who have been in close contact with someone who has the virus, or suspect they may have the virus though are not having symptoms:

OptumServe Health Services COVID-19 testing

Location: Ruxer Golf Course Building, 400 S. Clay St., Jasper

Hours of operation: Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Schedule an appointment at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by phone at 888-634-1116




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com