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Adams County sees highest COVID-19 test-positive rate to date

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Health administrators continue to reach out to the public about their concern over the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Just Tuesday night, Good Samaritan Home in Quincy announced an employee tested positive for COVID-19 on its Facebook page.

Adams County has reported 41 cases in less than two weeks.

Health officials said the county is seeing its highest positive-test rate since the virus has been tracked back in March.

Officials at the health department said while the community reopening plays a part in it, they said ultimately, too many people are not taking precautions. That's why more people than ever have COVID-19 in Adams County.

If you drove through town Tuesday night in Quincy, some people wear masks and others choose not to.

It's a divide that has officials at the Adams County Health Department frustrated.

"We want people to take it seriously," Public Health Administrator Jerrod Welch said. "We've been saying that for three months now. We are seeing a surge that is certainly a concern."

Welch said we are seeing the highest test-positive rate since tracking the virus.

"Right now, about 2.2 percent is the last I saw for a test-positive rate," Welch said. "It's a rolling number and will change over time. We've been anywhere from zero percent up to about two and a half percent range through time."

That means people who point to more testing as the cause of the surge are wrong.

"We have turned the disease prevalence indicator to yellow," Welch said. "That's because we have seen this increase in cases recently. That's certainly something we need to be monitoring for the public to be aware, there is more community-level circulation of COVID right now than there was over that flat period in April."

Welch said the uptick in cases is due to people not following the guidelines.

One Adams County resident said the lack of masks and social distancing is obvious.

"I see like half," resident Greg Zehnle said. "Half and half. Half of them do, half of them don't."

Welch said although the state is re-opening, it's not time to let your guard down, as many patients are asymptomatic.

"The disease is here," Welch said. "It is circulating. The best ways to avoid getting it are to stay away from other people, stay away from larger groups and wear your mask when you can't socially distance."

It's something residents want to see more of.

"It sounds like now, more younger people are testing positive for it," Zehnle said. "If they're getting it, I'm a little older, so I need to be more vigilant."

Welch said he plans to meet with all the healthcare providers in the area on Wednesday.

He said people are not as receptive as they'd like them to be, so they plan to discuss ways to change that.

Welch said testing is a good strategy to help them control the virus.

He said right now, anyone with symptoms or who may have been exposed to the virus can get tested.

He said the turnaround for tests takes one to two days to get back no matter where you get tested.

If you want to get tested, you should call the community COVID-19 hotline first. If you have any issues, call the health department and they will get you the help you need.

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Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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