With local COVID-19 cases up, health director warns schools could close again if trend continues | SummitDaily.com

With local COVID-19 cases up, health director warns schools could close again if trend continues


Cases of the novel coronavirus are on the rise again in Summit County, averaging 703.6 new cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks, up from a recent low of 513.

Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland said at Tuesday’s Board of Health meeting that it remains to be seen if this latest bump will continue or it’s connected to the recent holidays. She worried the county’s move to level orange has community members “thinking orange is the new green, and it’s time for letting go of restrictions.”

“Orange is not the new green,” Wineland said. “We have to have the community continue to step up. … What is it you value about spring and summer? Do you want spectators at sports, a graduation ceremony for seniors? Everyone in the community needs to dig deep and think of what we value about winter, spring and summer and get there as a community.”

Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine said locals should be wary of rationalizing gatherings.

“We understand it,” Vaine said. “We are all desperate to spend time with family. And there’s some thinking, ’Everyone’s been so good. It’s a small get-together.’ They think it’s OK, and that’s where transmission occurs.”

Wineland said she believes the county’s contact tracing efforts suggest in-person gatherings have increased after moving into level orange, and she said “remote learning will happen” if the community lets its guard down.

“School can’t operate if half of the staff is sick,” Wineland said. “… We’re months away from having any kind of herd immunity. Yes, we’re vaccinating, but we are months away from being able to get together in the way that we want to get together.”

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