Health

Local COVID-19 cases on the rise

MCHD encourages county residents to get vaccinated

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Local health officials reported Tuesday that Montgomery County is experiencing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and positivity rate.

According to a press release issued by the Montgomery County Health Department, the more transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 is circulating in the county and low COVID-19 vaccination rates locally are believed to be responsible for these increases.

The MCHD strongly encourages residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and to distance and wear a mask if not vaccinated. Those who have symptoms and those with close contact to a positive case should be tested.

The positivity rate for Montgomery County has risen to 10 percent, has doubled since June, and is twice the Indiana positivity rate. The incidence of COVID-19 infection has also increased to nearly twice the state average. Montgomery County is seeing approximately 40 positive COVID-19 cases weekly, which is up from 14 cases weekly in May. This is particularly concerning as children return to classrooms in early August. Nearly all positive cases are in unvaccinated persons.

The vaccination rate for those over 12 years of age in Montgomery County is 42 percent and lags behind the Indiana rate of 49 percent. Vaccination rates need to be higher to adequately slow circulation of the Delta variant in the community.

The MCHD encourages COVID-19 vaccination for all ages 12 or older. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which has been approved by the FDA for emergency use, are safe and highly effective at reducing COVID-19 infection and are extremely effective at preventing hospitalization and death. Vaccine is readily available at all local pharmacies and the MCHD. It is also available at some primary care offices. Vaccine appointments can be scheduled online at www.ourshot.in.gov. The health department at 308 W. Market St., Crawfordsville, is providing vaccinations 3-6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. Fridays, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. An online appointment is encouraged, but is not necessary. Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for children from 12 to 17 years of age. COVID-19 vaccines are free of charge.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include runny nose, cough, chills, loss of taste and/or smell, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and sore muscles.

“We are confident there are many more infections in the community than have been identified with testing since people are not getting tested for symptoms they perceive as just a ‘summer cold’ or allergies," the release read.

Those who have any symptoms are asked to stay home in isolation and get a COVID-19 test. Those who have close contact with a COVID-19 case are also encouraged to get tested. Free COVID-19 testing is available at the MCHD 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

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