The Boone County Health Dept. has reported another weekly record for COVID-19 cases.
Last week, the BCHD reported 500 new COVID-19 cases in Boone County. No new deaths were reported last week, and the county had a positivity rate of 12.4 percent, according to the department. The week prior, the department reported the county had 380 new cases and a positivity rate of 14.3 percent.
BCHD Public Health Educator Claire Haughton said the increase in cases likely reflects spread related to the Thanksgiving holiday.
“I think we are going to continue to see an increase in cases for those people who wind up getting sick toward the tail end of the two weeks after Thanksgiving,” Haughton said. “They’ll unfortunately spread it to others, and we’re worried about Christmas and Christmas shopping and things like that.”
Haughton said the county’s increase in positive COVID-19 cases also could be linked to an increase in testing. She said the county administered between 1,100 and 2,100 weekly tests in October and between 2,400 and 3,600 in November. Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 5, 2,278 tests were administered to county residents.
Haughton said it is possible the increase in tests have contributed to preventing the county’s positivity rate from tipping past 15 percent. The county remains orange on the state’s color-coded coronavirus map. Orange reflects the second-highest level of community spread.
But Haughton warned the new coronavirus’ rate of spread in the community would likely increase the county’s positivity rate, which would make Boone County red on the state’s map and limit social gatherings to 25 people.
An additional concern is that college students returning home for winter break could widen the spread, exposing family and friends they haven’t typically interacted with while at school.
“Hate to say it, but I think we would probably see an increase related to that as well,” Haughton said. “It’s another opportunity for pathogens and germs to come back. We have gotten a couple of calls from folks that said, ‘My child came back from college, and all of a sudden now people in the household are starting to feel sick.”