After months of declining numbers, health officials are seeing an unsettling increase of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Daviess County community.

Clay Horton, public health director at Green River District Health Department, said Friday that there has been a “rapid rise” of COVID-19 during recent weeks. The number of new confirmed cases of the virus in Daviess County is on pace to double for the second week in a row.

“Our numbers are alarming,” Horton said. “People ask me where is this coming from and the overall trend is our cases are among unvaccinated individuals,” Horton said.

Since its previous report on Tuesday, the Green River District Health Department has reported 240 new cases of the virus throughout the district. Of those 240 cases, 110 were reported in Daviess County, 30 in Ohio County, nine in Hancock County and three in McLean County.

Horton said these most recent cases are mostly individuals who have not been fully vaccinated against the virus.

“For the month of July, of the cases that we have reported out, 91% of those were not vaccinated,” he said.

Horton said the delta variant is a big part of the rising number of new cases of COVID-19 in the community.

“The delta variant, it appears, is about twice as infectious as the COVID-19 that we were dealing with this time last year,” he said. “We don’t have enough vaccinated individuals in our community to buffer that out so it has got a lot of opportunities to spread here, and it is spreading very efficiently and very fast.”

While Daviess County is currently in the state’s COVID-19 Orange Zone, Horton said it is not a matter of if, but when it will return to the Red Zone.

As for how to protect yourself against the virus, it is important to continue doing much of what people have been doing since the pandemic first hit — practice safe social distancing, frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer use, and take extra precautions if you are medically vulnerable.

“If you are not fully vaccinated right now you need to wear a mask if you are out in public, especially in indoor settings,” Horton said. “We should encourage masking for those who aren’t fully vaccinated or those that have underlying health conditions and are higher risk.

“If you are medically vulnerable, you should probably avoid social activities with unvaccinated individuals,” Horton said. “There is just a lot of risk right now.”

For those with a job that involved a significant amount of social interaction, such as food service or retail, Horton recommends that employees wear a face mask regardless if they have or have not been vaccinated.

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