Werner: COVID-19 spike is cause for concern


Seventy-five new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Dubois County in the past week, and a local health official said the recent spike is a cause for concern for what the future might hold.

“Once again, we are asking all Dubois County residents and businesses to please do the right thing and start wearing your masks and social distancing,” said Shawn Werner, interim administrative director at the Dubois County Health Department.

He added that no matter what your beliefs are, “do it for the mother or father you just passed at the store who have a newborn baby at home, or the grandmother or grandfather that mean the world to you. Do it for the co-worker standing next to you who might have underlying health conditions. Do it for your kids who are the light of your world. And most of all, do it for yourself, so you can honestly say I’ve done my part to help slow the spread.”

Twenty-five new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Dubois County on Tuesday — the highest single-day total since 43 cases were reported on May 18. Twenty-one more cases were reported today, bringing the countywide case count to 365.

Werner pointed to a few reasons for the larger numbers. They include the ignoring of the department’s recommendations to wear a mask, practice social distancing and good hygiene, and to stay home when ill, as well as other factors.

“You also have an increase in testing, social gatherings beginning to take place and parties for the Fourth of July were exactly two weeks ago.” Werner wrote in an email. “All it takes is one or two positive individuals to show up to these events, and you will have these spikes in cases as a result. We cannot stress enough this pandemic is not over.”

The county also reported its seventh COVID-19-related death on Tuesday.

Werner said the No. 1 thing you can do to protect yourself is to stay home whenever possible to avoid exposure, and he encouraged everyone to really evaluate the need to attend social gatherings at this time.

“The best way to protect others is a simple act of kindness — wear a mask when in public,” he wrote. “A mask is proven effective in reducing the amount of respiratory droplets emitted when coughing, sneezing or even breathing. Statistics show about 43% of positive cases never experience symptoms, so even if you don’t feel ill, you might be spreading the virus without even knowing.”

In addition to COVID-19 testing at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, OptumServ Health Services opened a testing site earlier this month at the Ruxer Golf Course building at 400 S. Clay St. in Jasper. The site is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and you must register by appointment only at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by phone at 888-634-1116.

Testing is for anyone who lives or works in the state. Anyone can be tested, even those who are not showing symptoms.

There is no charge for testing at the site. However, if you have private health care insurance, you are asked to bring that to the testing site.

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