The temperature isn’t the only thing that has risen in July — so too has the number of Franklin Countians testing positive for the coronavirus.

According to data from the Franklin County Health Department, there has been a drastic uptick in the number of local COVID-19 patients. In fact, we have seen more cases in July — 105 — than any other month since the global health pandemic began in March. June was second with 75 cases; followed by May (27); April (seven); and March (five).

The week of July 20-24 saw a total of 33 newly confirmed cases — the most reported in a five-day span. So far this week, there have been 32 new cases reported and the number of hospitalized patients (16) and those in the intensive care unit (three) has also spiked.

Local health department officials believe the increase in cases is directly linked to out-of-state travel and get-togethers and are monitoring 62 currently active cases.  

In fact, the health department has reported at least one case each weekday since June 25. In the 35 days since, Franklin County has recorded 129 new COVID-19 cases — more than 51% of our total number of cases (251).

Another area of concern is that many of the most recent cases are in younger patients. Compared to the start of the pandemic when most of the COVID-19 patients were older and many in long-term care facilities, the majority of local coronavirus cases are in the 20-30 age group (41); 41-50 range (35); and 31-40 (33).

The thing is, health officials have been telling us for months the measures we must take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — wear a cloth face mask in public; wash your hands; sanitize high-touch areas; social distance from others; stay home if you’re sick; avoid large crowds; don’t travel to hot spots.

These aren’t hard guidelines to follow, but they are the right things to do in order to protect yourself, your family and others. Still, there is a percentage of the local population who choose not to heed the experts’ advice for whatever reason. To those folks we say, the proof is in the numbers and the coronavirus is not going to go away and nothing will change unless we all do our part.

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