Virus spike concerning to health dept

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER — The Dubois County Health Department is warning residents that the county is seeing another uptick in COVID-19 cases after reporting 19 new positive cases Thursday.

Shawn Werner, director of the local department, explained that the county has experienced a “very gradual increase” in cases over the past three weeks — with even more of an increase taking place in the past few days.

“[It’s] definitely concerning to us,” Werner said. “So, hopefully people will start getting back to the routine of wearing their masks and socially distancing, and try to avoid those social gatherings that we’ve kind of been seeing go on. Hopefully we can get it back under control.”

As of Thursday, the county had 1,040 reported cases. Of those 882 have recovered and 19 deaths have been reported. A total of 8,536 Dubois County residents have been tested. Twenty-nine new cases were reported in Dubois County on Monday, 11 more were reported Tuesday and an additional 12 were reported Wednesday.

Citing contact tracing information, Werner said the recent rise in cases is tied to community spread at events like social and family gatherings and weddings, as well as group vacations. He encouraged readers to isolate themselves from others if they become sick.

"We must continue to take every step possible to help prevent its spread," reads a health department press issued Thursday. "Wear a mask, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or inside of your elbow. Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible. Stay home if you are feeling ill. Please continue to practice physical distancing and stay at least 6 feet from others. The statewide mask mandate is still in effect."

Indiana might be in Stage 5 of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s reopening plan, but that doesn’t mean everything can return to the way it was before the virus surfaced, Werner said.

“Even if we were [in] a lull there for a while, people start getting laxed, and that’s how these spikes happen,” he explained. “They start avoiding social distancing, and not wearing their masks as much when they should be in public, and going to social gatherings, and not practicing all those hand washing and disinfecting surface areas, and all those types of practices that we’ve been preaching.”

He continued: “When those start going away, the virus is going to start coming back. Because that’s really the only thing that we have to keep it under control at this current moment. Until a vaccine comes out.”

In Jasper, several things have changed at the COVID-19 testing site at the former Ruxer Golf Course building, which was formerly managed by OptumServe. The site at 400 S. Clay St. is now run by the health department and 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. The staff inside is the same group that worked at the site while OptumServe managed the operation.

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 evaluated by a provider who determines testing and treatment. Open 24 hours a day.

For the most up-to-date COVID-19 information, visit www.duboiscountyherald.com.




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