The coronavirus pandemic has reared its head again in Daviess County with cases and deaths both on the rise. The Daviess County Health Department reports an increase of almost 40 cases in the past week raising the total number of COVID-19 cases to 220.
“That is a lot for this county in that length of time,” said Daviess County Public Health Nurse Kathy Sullender. “I think some of that comes from more people getting tested. We have a lot more people who are coming back after traveling or who have been around someone who was ill.”
The health department also reports another death. That marks the second in the last 2 weeks. It raises the total death toll in the county to 20.
In addition, there are now at least four people from Daviess County who have been hospitalized with COVID-19.
“It is in all of the county,” said Sullender. “We do have some hot spots that we are working on. We have a business and an organization that have seen a jump. We are working with them to get the people who might have been exposed into isolation. We have a lot of people in isolation now.”
Currently there are rumors within the community that a high school band student tested positive for COVID-19. “Because of HIPPA regulations, we cannot confirm that,” said Sullender.
Washington Community Schools officials also would not comment on the rumor.
“Any time we have a report of a student or staff member with the virus we report that to the health department,” said Washington Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Dan Roach. “We are not allowed to release any information. I can say the health department has been very thorough and professional in our work with them over the last several months, and that we are working with them in the event that any contact tracing is needed.”
Sullender says all of the work concerning the coronavirus has picked up over the last couple of weeks.
“All of our deaths have involved people age 60 and over,” she said. “But those being infected by the virus range in age from 1 to 90, and our numbers just keep going up.”
The jump in cases comes at the same time that Governor Eric Holcomb has put in place an executive order calling for all people to wear masks.
“Our phone has rung constantly from people asking questions and making reports on others who are not wearing masks,” said Sullender. “We cannot do much about anyone who does not wear a mask, but if a business is not having its employees wear a mask then we can do something about that. A lot of people are very confused about the whole issue.”
One of the differences between the coronavirus and other diseases is that people can have the disease and not display any symptoms. During that time, they can also be contagious.
“Wearing a mask limits the possibility of someone with the virus of spreading it to others,” said Sullender. “We are trying to educate people about masks. This is the best way to protect people around you and to limit the number of people who could infect you.”
With the jump in cases and the additional deaths and hospitalizations the health department is gearing up for another part of the ride on the COVID-roller coaster.
“We have had much worse times, when we had more deaths and reports of cases,” said Sullender. “Then those numbers went down and now they are up again. We just have to hang on and do our best to ride this out.”