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Public Health: Risk of contracting COVID-19 now ‘severe’

Webster County reached a total of 3,540 COVID-19 cases Friday, according to Webster County Public Health (WCPH), bringing the rampage of new cases in the last two weeks to 1,266.

Webster County is now seeing 80 to 90 cases per day, according to WCPH — double the daily average it was seeing just one week ago. Due to the sheer volume of new cases coming in, the agency was unable to provide a breakdown of cases by age category Friday.

Of the total cases, 432 remain open under WCPH monitoring. The department’s employees are now sacrificing their weekends and will continue to work through Thanksgiving to surmount very high case loads. WCPH continues to urge those being called by public health for contact tracing to answer their phones.

“We are at a critical point in our state and our county’s fight against COVID-19,” said Kelli Bloomquist, public information officer. “We need to flatten the curve of increased cases so that our health care and public health systems, as well as skilled nursing facilities, are not overwhelmed. Currently, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is severe. Testing may require travel or waiting, and we know that a majority of these cases are related to community spread.”

Bloomquist said health care systems in the county are “nearing their limit.”

Mirroring strong recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WCPH said that families should not travel for Thanksgiving this year due to the extraordinary spread of the virus, and should consider celebrating virtually with family or celebrating only with immediate family.

“It is crucial that every resident follow public health measures in order to protect your family, your community and your local health care workers by wearing a mask correctly every time you leave the house, washing your hands frequently, staying home when you are sick, practicing social distancing, limiting groups, only leaving home when it is necessary and getting your flu shot,” Bloomquist said.

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