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‘In the red’: U.S. Surgeon General warns Allen County of high COVID-19 positivity rate

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U.S. surgeon general tells Allen County residents to step up good health practices during visit to Fort Wayne.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - The nation's top doctor sounded the alarm on Allen County's high positivity rate, but said if the community takes part in precautionary measures, we can turn things around.

The U.S. Surgeon General made a stop in Allen County Friday morning to meet with local health officials about the community's response to COVID-19.

The Indiana State Department of Health updates its COVID-19 dashboard daily at noon.

Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, who serves on President Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, says he looks a the spread of coronavirus on a scale that identifies a positivity rate at Green, Yellow, and Red.

At the Green level, the positivity rate will be less than 5 percent. At the Yellow, the positivity rate is between 5 to 10 percent, and the Red level means the positivity rate is more than 10 percent.

In Allen County, the 7-day positivity rate is nearly 12 percent compared to the state's 7-day positivity rate at 7.8 percent.

That means Indiana is in the Yellow, while Allen County sits in the Red.

"That's the unfortunate news. The good news is we have simple tools that will allow us to easily turn around those positivity rates," Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, U.S. Surgeon General said.

He calls these tools the three W's: wash your hands, watch your distance and wear a mask.

"If we do these things, we can safely reopen," the U.S. Surgeon General said.

"To the young people out there, if you want prom, if you want spring break, if you want to see the Colts and Pacers play, the fastest way to get there is to follow the three W's."

Dr. Adams also addressed confusion about the asymptomatic spread of the virus.

"Based on everything we knew on that family of viruses in February, we did not think that people could spread the disease if they were asymptomatic," Dr. Adams said.

"Unfortunately we found that in up to 50 percent of cases of coronavirus, people can spread it if they are feeling and looking fine. That is why changed our recommendations. That is why we now ask that people wear a face mask out when they are out in public, particularly if they can't maintain social distance."

"This should not be political. This is not taking away your rights or freedoms. As a matter of fact, this is a tool to freedom, because if we don't do the things that will lower spread, more places will be forced close, you will have less freedoms."

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams

The Surgeon General and Allen County Health Commissioner also made a plea to folks to participate with contact tracers.

"Most people are doing the right thing. We just need more people to cooperate and stay the course," Adams said.

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Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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