By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – Officials are urging residents in Kosciusko County to take further precautions as the number of COVID-19 cases is rising significantly.
County Health Officer Dr. William Remington said the county has recorded a total of 2,000 positive cases this year and that the number of new cases is the highest since the pandemic began.
Two months ago, the weekly number of cases per week had been 50 or 55 per 100,000 people. That number recently reached 344 cases per 100,000, Remington said.
“Our volume of test positivity speaks to real sick people. Our regional hospitals are filling up again with COVID cases,” Remington said.
“I ask the citizens of our county to respect this. It’s not just a statistical thing. It’s not fake news.”
The health department also reported three new deaths in a five-day period, bringing the county’s death toll to 29.
Remington urged people to use masks, wash hands, use social distancing and get a flu shot.
While officials are not voicing opposition to Halloween activities, they are suggesting trick or treaters keep in mind social distancing and the use of masks, while at the same time asking homeowners providing candy to do it carefully by either setting out candy on a table or asking recipients to take pieces.
Meanwhile, school officials continue to see new cases.
During the last two weeks, there were 59 cases connected to public school employees or students in the county, resulting in 447 people entering quarantine.
Of those 59 cases, there is one that has had severe symptoms. Otherwise, they’ve seen 16 who were asymptomatic and another 22 were very mild, said Teresa Reed, the communicable disease nurse with the county health department.
Dr. David Hoffert, superintendent of Warsaw Community Schools, said community spread is resulting in the increase rather than events happening within the schools. He said they were aware of some large gatherings during fall break that have led to some cases.
He said the district’s number one priority is remaining open safely.
While nothing is certain and cases are rising, Hoffert predicted schools will not be forced to close their doors as they did in the spring.
However, he said he could envision parts of a school or even an entire school closing if the cases and the number of quarantines rise significantly in specific locations.
On Thursday, Oct. 29, Warsaw Community Schools issued an open letter to the community about the school corporation’s COVID-19 situation.