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Three Rivers issues warning about high level of community transmission of COVID-19

A high level of community transmission of COVID-19 recorded today has prompted the Three Rivers Health District to issue a special message urging residents to take prevention measures, including masking and social distancing.

In a press release, Three Rivers Health Director Dr. Richard Williams said on Friday, Aug. 27, that the latest surge in the virus “is very troubling, and the number of cases are continuing to rise rapidly.”

Over the past seven days, 422 new cases were recorded in the district, said Williams, up from about 20 cases a week in early July.

“All of us should take measures to protect ourselves from exposure to COVID-19,” he emphasized. “Please get vaccinated if you have not done so already to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

Williams said that high community transmission is defined by the CDC as greater than 100 cases per 100,000 persons or greater than 10 percent test positivity over the last seven days. He said the higher of the two measures should be implemented. The district has had 217.21 cases per 100,000 over the past seven days, he said, more than double the threshold.

The Delta variant of the virus is the primary driver of recent high transmission rates, said Williams, because it spreads more easily than earlier strains of the virus. While the vaccines are effective against the virus, he said, a small percentage of vaccinated people may get it. Although the illness will likely be mild, those people may still spread the virus to others.

Williams further urged people to avoid crowds, large indoor gatherings, and poorly ventilated spaces; to wash hands often; and to stay home if infected with COVID-19 or exposed to COVID.

In addition, Williams asked that businesses, public officials, and community organizations do their part and urge customers, visitors, and participants to take those precautions and to encourage telework to the extent possible.

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