Scott County’s COVID-19 cases are surging, but the source is not what anyone may expect.
The county’s coronavirus death toll is now at 22, including 17 from long-term health care facility Dover Manor. All 22 deaths have happened over the past nine weeks.
Although in-person classes are being held at all county schools and Georgetown College, the surge is coming from the community at large, said Dr. Crystal Miller, WEDCO public health director.
“The schools are doing a great job,” Miller said. “They are following protocols, including proper cleaning procedures. The spread is community wide. If people want schools to maintain in-person classes they are going to have to adhere to wearing masks community wide, otherwise it will eventually filter into the school system.”
Last week, there were 82 new confirmed cases pushing the county’s total to 1,118, including 31 people hospitalized. Every day but one last week recorded double digit confirmed cases, including 32 Thursday and Friday combined. Several churches have experienced multiple COVID-19 cases, forcing several to return to online services after opening to in-person services several weeks ago.
As of Friday, Oct. 23, Scott County Schools has had three students and five staff members who tested positive for COVID-19, according to school officials. Schools started in-person classes on Oct. 14.
“We are pleased with the smooth start of school in person this year,” said Superintendent Kevin Hub. “Our staff worked hard to put a strong plan in place that offers choices for families and provides quality instruction in person in a safe learning environment.
“I am thrilled with the reports of consistent masking in our schools which has limited the exposure and spread of the virus. We hope the community will continue to support this important step because we know that wearing masks is vital to keep our schools open and our students safe.”
Contact tracing of the confirmed cases at Scott County Schools has determined the individuals who tested positive contracted the virus “as a result of exposure in the community, not at school,” officials said.
“Unlike anytime before, we are watching science unfold before our eyes,” Miller said. “We are learning about this virus in real time, and the more we learn, the more we have to adjust. The public is going to have to understand and be flexible.”
A significant adjustment for Scott County and all of WEDCO’s district which includes Harrison, Nicholas and home health for Bourbon counties, will be how local statistics are reported.
“Because of the time involved in contact tracing, the reporting to the state has lagged behind,” she said. “That means the state’s (alert level) map was reporting cases a week or so old and state data was lagging behind.
“In order to be more accurate, every Thursday I will calculate the local incident rate for Scott County, which should serve us better at the local level. This will be forward to Dr. Hub and others so they can make the appropriate decisions.”
WEDCO continues to offer COVID-19 testing five days per week. The schedule is: Monday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.’ Tues.-Thurs., 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. - noon. Appointments are encouraged and can be made at www.wedcohealth.org.
Mike Scogin can be reached at email@example.com.