Wayne County and Richmond officials are considering some steps to try to reduce future cases of COVID-19 as the numbers of deaths and sick people surge.

A press conference is planned for Thursday afternoon with city and county leaders to announce what they believe should be done to prevent more illness and deaths.

As of Wednesday, Oct. 21, Wayne County has had 1,221 lab-confirmed positive cases of the virus, which is an increase of more than 200 cases in less than two weeks.

Wednesday’s numbers from the daily Indiana Department of Health report show a one-day increase of 29 local cases.

Deaths also have been on the rise, with the county now at 27 COVID-related fatalities.

Thirteen of those Wayne County deaths have taken place in October.

Wayne County Health Department Executive Director Christine Stinson said all four of the most recent deaths were residents of long-term care facilities in Wayne County.

One victim was a male in his 80s. The other three were females in their 90s.

While nearly 75 percent of the county’s deaths have been in the 80-plus age bracket (nearly 15 percent in their 60s and 11 percent in their 70s), illnesses have been recorded in all age groups.

At this time, the highest percentage of lab-confirmed positive cases have been in the 50-59 age group (17 percent), followed closely by those in their 20s (16.1 percent) and 60s (14.4 percent).

Other young adults are close behind. Those in their 40s make up 12.8 percent of cases, and those in their 30s are 12.4 percent of cases.

Children and teens (through age 19) make up 11.5 percent of cases.

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Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.