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Community spread continues to lead an increase in cases

Monroe County had its second straight week with a sharp increase in cases.

According to the Monroe County Health Department, there was an increase of 31 confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases from Tuesday, Oct. 20 to Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The increase puts the county at 187 total confirmed and probable cases.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 27, there are 45 active cases in the county, an increase of four from the week before.

Monroe County Health Department Public Information Officer Amanda Sefert said the increase continues to be the same.

“It’s still community spread,” Sefert said. “It is clear across the county.”

Despite the increase in cases, Monroe County remained categorized as a yellow county in the Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus designation system.

The county only met one of the seven indicators, which was new cases per capita.

While the county is one of only four counties that remain yellow, according to a press release from the health department, Monroe County is ranked No. 7 for the highest occurrence rates, which “shows how quickly the virus is transmitting throughout the county.”

COVID-19 cases continue to plague local schools. According to the press release, there have been a total of 16 positive COVID-19 cases in the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District since school resumed for the fall.

All schools remain open as of Oct. 27.

Sefert said there are more than 250 residents who are quarantined as of Oct. 27.

The Health Department continues to monitor all confirmed positive cases and close contacts who have been exposed to COVID-19 for signs and symptoms.

The Health Department hopes its efforts through contract tracing prevent the further spread of the virus and identifies any hot spots.

Sefert hopes residents understand the severity of the virus.

“People I’ve talked to (who have the virus) tell me they are really sick,” Sefert said. “They say they never want to go through this again and are not sure if they could.”

Of the county’s 45 active cases, Sefert said most, if not all, are symptomatic.

With Halloween activities scheduled throughout the county this upcoming weekend, the Health Department hopes residents take precautions to protect themselves and others.

“We hope trick-or-treaters and their parents take precaution,” the Health Department’s press release reads. “Traditional Halloween activities can increase the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 or influenza. CDC advises to wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance. Mask wearing tips include: make your cloth mask part of the costume, a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask, and do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask as it can make breathing more difficult. Masks should not be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing. Be sure to bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Parents need to supervise young children using hand sanitizer. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home and before you eat any treats. You are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a long time.”