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Allen County health commissioner says people beginning to “relax” could be leading to rise in COVID-19 cases

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21)- Allen County's health commissioner says he is concerned with the record high number of increased COVID-19 cases across the state and county.

"We started to see this after labor day we think as people start to relax and maybe not be quite as cautious and with the cold weather--spending more time indoors," Dr. Matthew Sutter said.

Dr. Sutter says Allen County's cases are rapidly increasing. He compares the rise to a speedometer when a car is accelerating. According to a map from the Indiana State Department of Health, Allen County is orange which means we're seeing 100 to 199 new cases per 100,000 residents a week.

"If we get to red our concern is that the community spread will be so high that we won't be able to control it with the normal things we're doing like case investigation and contact tracing," Dr. Sutter said.

Ashley Robertson, an assistant professor at IU Fort Wayne Fairbanks School of Public Health, presented data from a study she conducted with students.

Her students went to seven grocery stores in the area to see how many people were wearing masks.

"We found that 88.6 percent of Allen Country residents shopping in this big box stores were compliant meaning they were fully compliant they were wearing the mask above their nose and they were wearing the right kind of mask," Robertson said.

Even with this data she said she can see why there's an increase in cases in the county.

"Where a lot of these transmissions are occurring are more community based parks, social gatherings, family get-together's, that sort of thing," Robertson said.

She said this data from late August, early September is a good sing that the community is capable of working to slow the spread. She says she hopes to see that trend return.

"Now we're starting to see cases get higher and higher our case rate is not looking great right now and I think it has something to do with some complacency so let's get back there," Robertson said.

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Arielle Cadet

Arielle Cadet joined WPTA in August 2019. The Atlanta, Georgia native graduated from the University of Missouri and serves as Weekend Anchor/MMJ for ABC21. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or shoot her an email at acadet@WPTA21.com.

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