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Adams County flagged COVID-19 hot spot, health officials urge masks

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Adams County has been flagged by the state as a COVID-19 hot spot.

Numbers continue to rise and there are more active cases in the county right now than ever.

There's another warning from health officials to social distance and wear masks to help stop the spread.

Everyone who walks through the doors at Menards must wear a mask.

But, customers said that's not the case everywhere.

In fact, they said they see more people not wearing masks than those who are.

Health officials see the same and want everyone to change their ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Pittsfield resident Barbara Yelliot knows why she wears a mask.

"My kids had a great uncle in the St. Louis area that went in the hospital for something else, ended up contracting the virus in the hospital setting, and died," Yelliott said.

While everyone wears a mask in Menards, Yelliott said that's not the case everywhere else.

"I see a lot of people not wearing a mask and it really bothers me," Yelliott said.

Limited people in masks amid the recent spike of positive COVID-19 cases in Adams County concerns her.

"I just think they should take this more serious," Yelliott said.

Adams County currently has a warning for new cases per 100,000, according to state data.

It's something health officials at Quincy Medical Group said can change if people follow the guidelines.

"Diligence to the whole isolation, masking, and things are important if one wants to decrease the opportunity that they would become infected," Dr. Richard Schlepphorst with Quincy Medical Group said. "I think social distancing, masks, and hand washing are all still important."

They said masks do help prevent the spread.

"The virus gets in small, liquid-filled droplets and when you speak, sneeze, cough, talk or laugh, some of those respiratory droplets come out of your nose and mouth and are spread," Schlepphorst said.

It's a concept that prompts Yelliot to wear a mask everywhere she goes.

She encourages others to start doing the same, so nobody goes through what she and her family did.

"I think it's going to be at the point that everyone is going to experience a loss and I just wish people would take things more serious," Yelliott said.

According to state data, Adams County has a 6.1 test positivity rate just from this past weekend.

Health officials said it's community spread and everyone needs to take these guidelines seriously if they want to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

They said if you are showing any signs of symptoms or think you may have been exposed to the virus, to get tested.

You can do that by calling the local COVID-19 hotlines.

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Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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