Dubois County COVID-19 cases surge with highest positivity rate in state

Coronavirus Watch Indiana

JASPER, Ind. (WEHT) – Dubois County cases of COVID-19 continue to surge this week, leaving the county with the highest positivity rate in Indiana.

The new cases leaves Dubois County still with the highest positivity rate in Indiana. The 7-day positivity rate of 17.2% is slightly higher than neighboring Pike County, who has the second highest rate in the state. The rates are as of August 3rd.

The high 7-day positivity rate stays just as students will be allowed back into their classrooms. Health officials and residents hope the state’s mask order and other things help lower that rate.

“We can’t track it to any one business or event, so it’s community spread right now,” said Shawn Werner of the Dubois County Health Department says the cases started going up less than a week after the 4th of July, and gatherings may have led to more cases. He believes the state’s mask order, which started two weeks ago, should start lowering cases in this county soon.

“I think Dubois County is going to hopefully start seeing a little bit of a downward trend. We’re seeing about 70 cases a week, and we’re going to continue to go down if this mask mandate is going to work,” he said.

As the rate stays high, Werner says they’re still talking with the county’s school districts on the upcoming school year. New rules include requiring masks for when students are unable to physically distance.

“I didn’t expect DuBois County to be one of the leading counties for cases,” said Dave Kemper of Ferdinand, who was surprised the county had so many cases, but is still hopeful things improve.

“I’m hoping it gets better. When they were saying the heat would help suppress the virus, it doesn’t seem to be doing that,” Kemper said.

“Generally, it’s going to take two to three weeks to see if there’s any effect from that, so we should start seeing, hopefully, pretty quickly if it’s going to work,” said Shawn Werner with the Dubois County Health Department.

Werner also says they’ve gotten calls from residents complaining about businesses not requiring masks but so far, they’re only urging businesses to comply with the order.

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(This story was originally published on August 10, 2020) 

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