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‘I’m worried about our schools’ ability to stay open’: Allen County health commissioner

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) -- Allen County's health commissioner says a positivity rate of 15% would put it in the state's red category of COVID-19 metrics.

He says while that's a high rate to hit, Allen County already stands at 13% right now.

"We are seeing a surge much like the one we saw last fall," Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter said.

Last fall, Allen County recorded more than 400 cases a day.

Wednesday's 315 new cases is the most reported in months, and Sutter is highly concerned about the rising trend in Allen County's case count and positivity rate.

In the past month, more children have been infected with the coronavirus and some are hospitalized here, Dr. Sutter said.

Sutter says hospitals in northeast Indiana are strained, not overwhelmed, but says if the trend continues, they certainly could be.

He says if hospitals do get overwhelmed, that's when he would consider issuing new restrictions or mandates.

"I don't have a hard number at which I would write a public health order, and again, any public health order that I write has to be approved by the county commissioners," he said.

He says over the past month, more children have been infected with the coronavirus and some are hospitalized here.

"That is not translating necessarily to a ton more admissions but we worry about community spread with that. However I would say that on calls with Riley Hospital they are seeing more admissions for children now than they've seen at any point since COVID started,"Sutter said.

He says that's why he's urging school boards to consider universal masking in grades K-12.

"I'm worried about our schools' ability to stay open if they're not masking with this level of community spread. I just think we're going to run into real problems," he said.

He says the delta variant is largely making this a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and says now that the Pfizer vaccine is fully approved by the FDA, if you've resisted getting the shots because it had been classified as experimental, now is the time to do it because if you wait until you're sick, it's too late.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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