• By Kirk Gaw

Watching For Uptick Of Recent Coronavirus Cases In Walkerton Community

Recently, there has been an uptick in coronavirus cases throughout the Walkerton area. Most recently, a busy local convenience store employee was found to be COVID positive. Actually, the issue of concern has been alarming since, high school athletics began on July 1st.

(photo courtesy of ABC 57)

The public needs to make safe decisions about their personal health and family safety. It has been found by the CDC that a simple face mask is the best prevention from the disease. Also, washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you have entered a public space, sneezed, or coughed will help. It was first reported on July 8th that a John Glenn High School football player tested positive for coronavirus. The practices were canceled so players and coaches could self-monitor for any potential symptoms. Letters were sent to player parents. School officials were notified of the positive test and it was John Glenn High School Principal Christopher Manering who addressed the district in a letter. He wrote, “The John Glenn administration team contacted all of the student athletes directly impacted by this confirmed COVID-19 case.”

(photo courtesy of The South Bend Tribune)

Manering added that if parents were not contacted by the team then their child was not in direct contact with the infected student according to records. Direct contact is defined as being exposed for 15 minutes where social distancing is not possible. Manering said administrators have been working with the St. Joseph County Health Department and that they have been following protocols for expanded contract tracing. Later, by August the John Glenn School Corporation began it's new school year in the coronavirus threat "red zone" after 3,766 positive cases were reported in St. Joseph County by that time.

It meant that school classes would be socially distanced with e-learning on live Zoom feeds with personal computers at home. Next, attending classes in the schools during certain hours on certain days of the week would initiate the hybrid model for a yellow zone with learning at both home and school 50% capacity.

Finally, as of October like the rest of the state of Indiana JGSC reached the green zone for usual capacity but, for how long? Face masks or shields are required for all persons. The zone stays green when there are less than 14 new cases recorded for the day in the county. As of yesterday more than 14 new cases were recorded. Only a few John Glenn Schools students were reported to have caught coronavirus from August to September some in athletics and another in the school band. As of this 3rd week of October the John Glenn School Corporation nurse reported that yet, another 4 more cases were identified positive for coronavirus.

After conversations with the St. Joseph County Health Department the John Glenn team contacted all of the students and families directly impacted by the confirmed cases. They asked that you continue to do at-home-symptom-checks. They also, said to keep your kids at home if they are not feeling well. Be sure to wash your hands with soap frequently, maintain social distancing no less than 6ft apart, and please wear a face mask. Today, it was reported in the Walkerton Facebook Group that an employee at the Casey's Station turned up positive for coronavirus. It was reported that the entire store was shut down for a special cleaning to disinfect from COVID-19. It has not been reported when the popular gas spot will reopen? Should be soon. The Casey's Company is following regulations and protocol until it can reopen.

If you worry that you have symptoms of coronavirus aka COVID-19 please read these common signs: COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness. ________________________________ Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

Fever or chills Cough Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Fatigue Muscle or body aches Headache New loss of taste or smell Sore throat Congestion or runny nose Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea

Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

Trouble breathing Persistent pain or pressure in the chest New confusion Inability to wake or stay awake Bluish lips or face Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. As of today in St. Joseph County, Indiana there are 8,191 confirmed cases. Up 10% since last week. 148 persons in St. Joseph County have died from coronavirus. Deaths are up by 14% since last week. 121 new cases of coronavirus were reported in St. Joseph County, Indiana yesterday alone.

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