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County COVID-19 cases climb by 15 in a week

Kroona:?‘We are now in truly community spread’

As of Tuesday morning, there were 204 positive cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton County with 183 people who have recovered or who have been released from isolation, according to Shelby Kroona, Hamilton County Public Health administrator.

She gave a COVID-19 update during the Tuesday morning Hamilton County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Those totals reflect cases stretching back to March, according to Kroona. There have been 2, 163 people have been tested with 1,957 testing negative.

Kroona said she has been working to break down the weekly totals of cases. On July 1 through 7, there were three new cases. Between July 8 and 14, there were 15 new cases.

“Our numbers are rising significantly,” she said. “To go from three to 15 in one week shows that we are again having community spread.

When exponential growth is seen, that’s when testing and contact tracing needs to be ramped up, according to Kroona.

“It’s very important when a person is contacted as having been exposed or having positive test, that people be willing to divulge all the pertinent information,”she said. That allows public health officials the opportunity to find asymptomatic people and others who have been exposed and get them into isolation.

The 18-40 year-olds account for the largest number of positive cases with 110 individuals. The 41to 60 year-old group has 60 cases.

At one point in May the county’s positivity rate had climbed to 38 percent, but now are down to 9 percent.

“That means the number of positives over the people who tested that day,” Kroona explained.

She said that early on in the pandemic, there was obvious spread in businesses. In May, the trend moved to more of a family spread, with the positive individual bringing the virus home to family members.

“We are now in truly community spread,” she said. “When we contact trace people, we really can’t identify exactly where they may have been exposed. When a community gets to community spread, it’s harder to control, evidenced by our significant increase in one week.”

She said her agency was available to help businesses work on plans and policies, sharing the newest guidance from health officials.

“Everybody needs to realize it’s a very fluid situation,” she said. “We all need to wear our masks, be physically distant and really try to limit exposure to large group gatherings. Its going to be very important if we want to see children return to school and if we want to try to get back to some more everyday life, we need to participate in the public health activities of prevention.”

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