BY: DAVID SHEPHERD, NEWS DIRECTOR
JASPER -- Dubois County is still a COVID-19 hot spot and some local officials are expressing frustration with the rising numbers.
Shawn Werner is the head of the Dubois County Health Department. He joined mayors Denny Spinner and Dean Vonderheide to discuss those developments with our Charlie Wayne this morning LIVE AT 705.
"We're still ranked number one in the state as far as positive cases, per capita," Werner explained. "The positivity rate is still the highest observed in the state. [On] July 9th, when we started to see the spike, we had 290 cases. As of yesterday [Tuesday} we had 570 so, we nearly doubled in three weeks."
That begs the question; why Dubois County? Why are our rates so much higher than others in the state?
"Individuals not wearing masks, not socially distancing, not practicing good hygiene, not staying home when they're ill or even when they were tested," said Werner. "If you've been tested, you need to stay home for your results. If you're a close contact, continue your 14 day quarantine period or your isolation period if you are sick."
The rise in local COVID-19 cases have city leaders like Jasper mayor Dean Vonderheide frustrated. He's imploring residents to do their part to slow the spread of the virus.
"The numbers in Dubois County are embarrassing at most but, it's really disappointing because we could have done something to prevent this. Instead of going to that graduation party without a mask on, maybe we should have put that mask on because we didn't know if we were a carrier or not. Maybe we could have made the choice not to go to the party and do something else. Everyone has to make good decisions. That's what it's going to take for Dubois County to get out of this."
Mayor Vonderheide has been working with the Health Department and other cities and towns in the county to coordinate a uniform response to the growing pandemic.
Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner is one of them. He says, "We did hear from Memorial Hospital. In the last two weeks, the number of cases coming in that are being hospitalized is on the rise. A good example would be three weeks ago: Florida and Texas were reporting increases in diagnosis but their hospitalization and death rates were stable. Well, that was three weeks ago. Now, you look at Florida and Texas and that natural follow of the number of cases rose first, then hospitalizations, started coming up and that's the trend we have to fight."
Local health officials remind you to wear your mask, stay home if you’re sick, and wash your hands frequently.
This morning’s conversation was about an hour long. There are plenty of issues to discuss. We will be bringing you more from these three local officials through the rest of the week here on your local news.