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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Over the course of the last week, according to data released by the Scott County Health Department on Monday, the number of active COVID-19 cases and the number of those quarantined after close contact with a COVID-19 case have risen sharply.
In fact, according to the SCHD data, there are 28 active cases and 37 individuals in quarantine after close contact with someone with the virus. By comparison, last Monday, there were five active cases and nine quarantined individuals in the county.
SCHD RN Meghan VanDeVelde reported that the reasons for the increased case numbers are hard to pin down, saying that cases have seemingly cropped up throughout the community and the population.
“Truthfully we aren’t sure,” VanDeVelde said. “There really haven’t been too many commonalities for us to link up all of the cases. It’s been pretty widespread. It’s been some school cases, as well as general cases from the communities. A handful of different ones are also extending through families as well. So we are kind of seeing it from all possible angles.”
According to VanDeVelde, the Scott County Nursing Center (SCNC) continues to enjoy remarkably low numbers of COVID-19 cases, with only one case active at this time. VanDeVelde and SCNC staff are unsure how the virus made its way into the nursing facility.
“Thankfully, the one case at the nursing home has remained just a single case,” VanDeVelde said. “We aren’t sure how it occurred exactly. It’s stayed an isolated event for several days as all staff and I have continued to test negative. The resident has also remained asymptomatic throughout.”
VanDeVelde went on to caution residents that case numbers could continue to rise, because residents are traveling and gathering in large groups for the holidays – creating ideal conditions for the rapid spread of the virus through the community.
“The next two weeks might be a mess due to the holidays, but hopefully that is not the case,” VanDeVelde said.
VanDeVelde said that any increased case numbers caused by Thanksgiving gatherings would start to present themselves in the very near future.
“We anticipate any spikes from Thanksgiving to occur really anytime between now and the end of this week,” VanDeVelde said Monday.
To prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the face of newly identified virus variants, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently recommended that all adults receive a “booster” shot of one of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines.
VanDeVelde said that SCHD is equipped to provide booster shots of the Moderna vaccine. Vaccine clinics are held on a weekly basis.
“We have the Moderna booster available,” VanDeVelde said. “We do clinics every Friday at our office. As well as continue to offer 1st and 2nd doses. In terms of future clinics – due to our office being closed on New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve as they both fall on a Friday – we will be doing a clinic on Thursday, December 30th to offset being closed on those two consecutive Fridays.”
VanDeVelde said there has been interest among some Scott County parents in getting their children vaccinated. Because SCHD does not have the Pfizer vaccine (the only vaccine approved for children) on hand, VanDeVelde said that SCHD refers those interested in vaccinating their children to the Morgan County Health Department.
“Since we don’t get shipments of Pfizer we haven’t really been able to see a super awesome sample of how the parents have embraced the availability since we aren’t giving the vaccine ourselves,” VanDeVelde said. “But we have answered several questions and directed parents to places to be able to get the vaccine for their kiddos. So that group is out there.But we are always happy to chat with parents and offer any information that we can to them, as well as point them in the direction or help facilitate an appointment for vaccination somewhere if need be. I believe Morgan County has had a pretty good interest and reception on it.”
While interest in the vaccine for children in Scott County has been cool to date, VanDeVelde anticipates that, over time, more parents will become increasingly comfortable with the idea of vaccinating their children.
“I think as time progresses, it will be more and more embraced similar to how it all transpired with the adult vaccinations when they came out,” VanDeVelde said.
VanDeVelde reminds residents that suspect they may have COVID-19 to avoid contact with others and to seek out testing.
“Be self-aware of any symptoms and if there is any doubt or any concerns about symptoms, seek out testing or stay away from others and masks in crowded areas where social distancing can’t be done,” VanDeVelde said.