Due to a steady increase in COVID-19 cases, Grant County continues to be one of four Indiana counties in the red advisory level.

A total of 244 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and three deaths were confirmed from Thursday to yesterday, according to the Grant County Health Department. Grant County recorded 56 new cases Thursday, 60 cases Friday, 66 on Saturday, 26 on Sunday and 36 yesterday. In total, 11,889 positive cases and 229 deaths have been reported in Grant County.

“The numbers are real,” said Grant County Commissioner Mark Bardsley, a member of Grant County’s coronavirus task force. “Folks need to realize that this is not going away.”

According to Grant County Public Health Official Dr. David Moore, this is the third week Grant County has been in the red level, and it looks to Moore like the county will stay in the red for weeks to come.

As members of the community adjust to a “new normal,” Dr. Moore said the “new normal” is a very high level.

Schools across the nation are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases from student-to-student rather than from outside the school setting, which Moore attributed to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re seeing younger and younger people testing positive,” Moore said.

Moore said the nation is seeing younger people being hospitalized and suffering from COVID-19, though the virus continues to impact older people at a significantly higher rate.

Two weeks after COVID-19 cases rise, hospitalization rates tend to rise. Two weeks after hospitalization rates rise, death rates rise, Moore said. Grant County is currently seeing an increase in deaths, though the death rate is not increasing as quickly as it did before the vaccine was available, Moore said.

Though most of the deaths are among the unvaccinated, Moore said some vaccinated individuals with comorbidity are dying as well, mostly in the 70-80 age range.

More than 60 percent of the community remains vaccinated, and between 80-90 percent of COVID cases are among the unvaccinated.

With the holidays approaching, Moore said he wanted to remind people that the purpose behind the past stay-at-home orders and mask mandates was to make sure that hospitals were not overwhelmed.

The hospitals have seen an increase in COVID-19 patients in the last two weeks, though Moore said they are not running low on hospital beds.

“What we do have is staff that are just exhausted from last year that are dreading another surge that is caused by people who have a solution available to them and choose not to do it and when they do get sick they come into the hospital and tax a staff that is already just exhausted,” Moore said.

In light of the approaching holiday season, Moore stressed the importance of getting vaccinated.

Unvaccinated individuals are at least four times more likely to spread the virus than those who are vaccinated, Moore said.

“With the delta variant and the holidays coming, I dread what is going to happen with our low vaccination rate in our community,” Moore said. “Let’s work together and try to bring this under control.”

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