By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – Kosciusko County’s health officer Dr. William Remington is advocating for the reopening of businesses as the county continues to move forward with only one death attributed to COVID-19.
Two months after Kosciusko County confirmed its first case, officials are cautiously optimistic.
“I do feel the worst is in the rear-view mirror. Whether there will be a surge later, nobody can perfectly predict,” Remington said.
Remington pointed to the fact that local hospitals have not been under pressure as much as some other hospitals in other areas.
Nine cases involving Kosciusko County residents have required hospitalization, he said.
The county has seen 23 new cases in the past two weeks. The county is aware of 430 tests, but Remington said he suspects there are more that have not been reported.
The county has seen 62 positive cases.
The percentage of positive cases in Kosciusko County is about 5%.
According to the Centers For Disease Control, the national rate of positive cases has been about 10%.
“Kosciusko County, as imperfect as the testing has been, has a relatively very low percent positive,” he said.
Remington made the comments during a weekly news conference at Warsaw City Hall. He was joined in person by Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer and Kosciusko County Commissioner Brad Jackson.
He credited area nursing homes for employing “stringent” policies that have helped prevent a breakout of cases.
The effort by nursing homes, has been “heroic,” he said.
“I think we should continue to move along and open up the economy, which is a very, very substantial piece in this pandemic,” Remington said.
Kosciusko County offices reopened Monday, May 18.
Jackson said the staff is spraying surfaces every day and officials have changed other polices about entrances to cut down on traffic through the same doors.
“We’re not insisting on people wearing masks, but encouraging it,” Jackson said.
He said plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed and suggested some of those might become permanent.
Remington was asked what inning the county is in, comparing the pandemic to a baseball game. He suggested the issue has moved into the eighth or ninth inning.
Also in comparison to a ballgame, he was asked to compare it to a game in which the hometown team is winning and fans begin leaving early and whether he worries residents might let their guard down in a similar fashion with the pandemic.
He agreed but added that he hopes “statisticians” stay until the end of the game.