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Health leaders urge you to wear a mask as COVID-19 numbers rise here

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) -- When you leave your home, what percentage of people do you see wearing masks?

With the number of cases rising in our area, local elected and health leaders are begging you not to let your guard down and to wear a mask.

"Today we received 19 newly reported cases of COVID-19 and yesterday we received 39 new cases," says the Allen County Health Department's administrator Mindy Waldron.

Local elected and health leaders say if you thought the coronavirus scare is over, think again.

Allen County alone has had 2262 cases and 91 deaths, with 264 new cases and nine deaths just last week.

Allen County alone has had 2262 COVID-19 cases and 91 deaths, with 264 new cases and nine deaths just last week.

"Over the past three weeks or so we've actually seen double the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 every day. In fact, those numbers are much higher than they were in the early days of the pandemic in March and April," says Parkview Health's Dr. Jason Row.

Local leaders say while it's important to re-open the economy, everyone must do their part to keep the number of cases as low as possible.

"As all of us really want to reestablish that sense of normalcy in our lives that maybe we are not being as diligent as we could or should about masking and distancing and hand hygiene," Row says.

"Believe me, the 'I just want to be done with this darn COVID thing,' I echo that myself and so do our staff. However, the situation that we're in is not something that's not likely to go away any time soon," Waldron adds.

Sure, more people are being tested and more people are out and about these days, so higher numbers were expected.

While social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands won't eliminate the coronavirus, it will significantly reduce the spread, because spikes in cases could overwhelm hospital capacity.

"COVID-19 becomes lethal, most lethal, when our systems are over pressed. You've seen it in New York, you've seen it in New Orleans, and you've seen it in multiple places throughout the world," says IU Health's Dr. Geoff Randolph.

Elected leaders say while other communities are mandating wearing masks, Fort Wayne and Allen County are strongly recommending that people wear them.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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