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Columbia County sees spike in COVID-19 cases, mostly among younger people
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Columbia County sees spike in COVID-19 cases, mostly among younger people

Divine Savior protocols

Shannon Bartz, a surgical technician at Divine Savior Hospital in Portage, prepares face masks for all people entering the building. Due to COVID-19, it is mandatory for all staff and visitors to wear a face mask when entering the hospital.

The Columbia County Public Health Department reported a surge in COVID-19 cases in the past month and most of them are among younger people.

Columbia County has seen 63 new COVID-19 cases since the start of June which accounts for 57 percent of total cases reported in the county since March, according to a press release.

On June 1, the county had 47 positive cases, the total number of positive cases as of July 9 is 110.

In the last week, there have been 21 new positive cases in the county, according to Columbia County Health website.

“We are seeing the majority of those cases being transmitted from unknown sources, meaning they are not close contacts of a household member or a known case investigation – they are acquired in the general community,” Lorenz said. “Those aged 20-29 make up our largest single age grouping of positive cases, 22 percent, with the age group 30-39 coming in second, 20 percent,” she said.

Emergency Medicine Doctor Michael Walters at Divine Savior Hospital said there is no definite reason for the increase in cases.

“We do know following CDC recommendations will reduce the potential for the spread of the virus,” said Walters. “Any time that there is COVID-19 present in our community and people are not widely following the guidelines, we can expect to see an increase in transmission and confirmed cases.”

In Dane County, residents are now required to wear masks indoors. Lorenz did not say whether Columbia County is considering a similar mask requirement, but stated the county follows CDC guidelines.

“Columbia County Health Department recommends following the Center for Disease Control recommendations for people wearing cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” said Lorenz. “Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice.”

Walters agreed that masks are helpful in preventing the spread of the virus.

“We do support masks as a preventative measure,” said Walters. “If a recommendation were to be made by the public health departments in any of the communities we serve to mandate masking, we would be supportive.”

Follow Nicole on Twitter @Nicole_Aimone

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