Wayne County broke a local record for the number of COVID-19 cases last week, and health officials learned Tuesday morning about two local deaths over the Labor Day weekend that were related to the virus.
The first death was a female in her 80s who died Sunday, Sept. 6, at Reid Health. The second death was on Monday, Sept. 7, for a woman in her 90s who had been a resident at a long-term care facility. Because of privacy concerns, no further information regarding the individuals will be shared with the community.
Wayne County Health Department urges residents to take what they call very easy steps to combat COVID-19 after 99 cases were recorded for county residents for the week ending Thursday, Sept. 3.
As of Tuesday, Wayne County has had 652 lab-confirmed positive cases since the outbreak began.
This week, the county health department will begin its COVID-19 community testing site for a brief time at the former Elder-Beerman store, 601 E. Main St., which is the same site where the state offered tests through provider OptumServe.
Testing hours are changing to 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Appointments are available at https://scheduling.coronavirus.in.gov. Registration is preferred, but walk-ins are welcomed.
Executive Director Christine Stinson said residents should stay home if they are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, including headache, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, chills, sore throat, runny nose, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of taste and smell.
Those who are having trouble breathing, feeling persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay aware, and/or bluish lips or face are urged to seek care immediately.
Anyone who has been contacted by a state or local case investigator after being identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 individual is urged to follow the guidelines and quarantine for 14 days. Those beginning to experience symptoms during quarantine should be tested to see if they have contracted the virus.
To help reduce community spread of COVID-19, Stinson urges wearing a face mask or facial covering when in public spaces, especially indoors or at crowded outdoor events, and keeping a 6-foot physical distance from others.
“We should avoid large gatherings where it is not always possible to keep that physical distance with others,” Stinson said in a news release. “It is possible for people to attend these events without knowing they are sick and spreading the virus.”
Stinson said the need to practice good hand hygiene continues.
“Our hands should be washed anytime they have been contaminated by a surface that has not been recently cleaned and sanitized, especially prior to eating,” she said.
For more information regarding COVID-19, Stinson encourages residents to visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website, www.in.gove/isdh/, regularly. Indiana State Department of Health updates its data report daily and a county metric tracker that is updated weekly.
– By Millicent Martin Emery

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