CDC: Video can help quickly eliminate gaps around masks for better protection

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated knowledge about masks in light of the more contagious Omicron variant. Experts say any mask worn is better than none, but well-fitting N95 masks are now widely available and offer the highest level of protection, followed by well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s. Gaps, which can be common with surgical masks, let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask.  Masks should fit snugly over the nose, mouth and chin without gaps along the side of the face or nose. Gaps can be caused by choosing the wrong size or type of mask and when a mask is worn with facial hair.

Looking for a testing or a vaccination site? Here are a few

Note: Some sites might be closed Monday, Jan. 17, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Making an appointment online or via phone is recommended to ensure the site is open. Testing

Wayne County Health Department: Free walk-in PCR tests for all (and rapid tests for those younger than 18 or 50-plus with symptoms) from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 601 E. Main St., Richmond; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays at Nettle Creek Hardware, 485 E. Main St., Hagerstown; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays at Northeastern schools, 7299 U.S. 27 N., Fountain City; and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays at Golay Community Center, 1007 E. Main St., Cambridge City. Note: WCHD is closed Monday, Jan. 17, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Henry Community Health: Drive-thru tests at 1007 N. 16th St., New Castle.

Local hospital declares lack of space for patients an emergency

With COVID-19 cases once again on the rise, Reid Health has run out of space for patients and declared the situation an emergency on Sunday. Reid had paused all elective inpatient surgeries early last week and Henry Community Health in New Castle said it was deciding on a daily basis whether it will be able to do them. Officials at both are asking people who have not been vaccinated against the virus to do so. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have jumped to their highest level in 11 months, according to figures released last Wednesday by the Indiana State Department of Health. Reid Health took the rare step of issuing a public statement Sunday, Dec.

Ages 5-11 can get COVID vaccine in Wayne County

Hoosiers ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine, and local health officials hope that kids will get one dose before family gatherings at Thanksgiving. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday it has authorized the Pfizer pediatric vaccine for that age group. “Having a COVID-19 vaccine available to our younger Hoosiers is a game changer in terms of our efforts to keep children healthy and in school for in-person learning,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box in a news release. “Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine if they are exposed but have no symptoms, so I encourage parents to get their children vaccinated if they are eligible.”

“Getting at least one dose in a child prior to Thanksgiving is important,” said Christine Stinson, Wayne County Health Department executive director. “Even one dose provides some level of protection for the others they will come into contact with, like their grandparents.”

WCHD has received 300 pediatric Pfizer BioNTech doses.  Families were in a line for a special evening clinic on Nov.

Reid delaying elective inpatient surgeries because of COVID wave

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 9, Reid Health is pausing all elective inpatient surgeries as the health system works to manage the latest surge of COVID-19 cases. Wayne County moved Wednesday, Sept. 8, to the state’s worst advisory level for community spread, which is the red level. 

Emergent/urgent surgeries will proceed, as will outpatient surgeries scheduled at Reid Outpatient Surgery & Endoscopy (ROSE). All scheduled surgeries will be reviewed for urgency, and the surgeon’s office will reach out to those patients who need to be rescheduled.

Wayne County goes red in new COVID data

Wayne County has become a member of a club that local officials didn’t want to join. It is now one of 21 counties with the worst (red) advisory level for COVID-19. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Wayne County health officials have announced a total of seven new local COVID-related deaths. Four more deaths were reported Wednesday.  The deaths included two males and two females. One of the patients was in their 30s, one in their 50s, and two in their 60s.

Health department: 1 of 4 new COVID deaths was 30-something

Four more Wayne County residents’ deaths have been related to COVID-19, with one of the new victims in their 30s, according to Wayne County Health Department Executive Director Christine Stinson. That person is the county’s youngest COVID-related fatality since the pandemic began in March 2020. Stinson shared the news of the newest deaths with Wayne County Commissioners on Wednesday morning (Sept. 8) at their weekly meeting in Richmond. Stinson’s announcement came before Indiana’s data is announced weekdays at noon on the state Department of Health website at www.coronavirus.in.gov. 

Stinson had sent out a news release Tuesday afternoon announcing three deaths attributed to the virus, with one person in their mid-40s, one who was 60 years old, and one who was in their early 70s.

Wayne County attributes first death in 40s age group to COVID; nearly 70 kids test positive over weekend

Wayne County has lost its first 40-something resident to COVID-related illness. In addition, nearly 70 kids and teens tested positive for the virus during the Labor Day weekend, which is about the same number of patients in containment areas at a local hospital on Tuesday, Sept. 7. Over those four days, Wayne County recorded 227 new COVID cases, with 68 of them being in those 18 and younger. It recorded COVID-related deaths for a patient in their mid-40s, a 60-year-old, and someone in their early 70s.

Wayne County adds 144 new COVID cases Tuesday; drive-up vaccine, testing site at Ivy Tech closes Wednesday

Wayne County Health Department reported 144 lab-confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, Aug. 31, while state officials are offering a three-day drive-up testing and vaccination site at a local college to meet increased local demand. Of those new illnesses reported Tuesday, 54 were in ages 18 and younger. After a surge of positive tests in recent days, the 1,428 cases reported during August 2021 makes it the county’s second-highest month for infections. November 2020 has been the highest month tallied for Wayne County, with 1,801 cases.