Starke County Health Officials Stress Hand Washing, Social Distancing to Avoid Spread of Illness

Starke County Health Nurse Frank Lynch and Starke County Public Health Officer Dr. Thomas Browne informed the Starke County Commissioners on current information concerning COVID-19.

Lynch advised the commissioners that he dispenses information to the Starke County Sheriff’s Department, Community Services of Starke County, doctor’s offices, schools, the hospital, and other entities on daily basis of what is currently occurring as far as COVID-19. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. 

Currently, Dr. Browne said there are no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Starke County.  He encourages a proactive stance when it comes to reducing the spread of illness.

Dr. Browne stated, “I think social distancing is going to be very important and I think in terms of the bars and restaurants those sorts of the things, the further we can make that happen and the more realistic we can be the better off we’re going to be. 

“The primary transmission is droplet transmission from person-to-person and that’s why the social distancing is very important.”

He said if a person needs to go to a public venue, like a grocery store, be mindful of what is needed for a quick visit.  If there is a crowd, it may be appropriate to return at a later time.  He did encourage people to limit the need to go out in public places.

Lynch stressed that the community should practice good hand washing techniques and stay home if ill.

“If you are sick, stay home, and stay away from well people,” commented Lynch.  “We are a small community and everybody knows somebody else.  If you’re sick….‘you tell me what you need at the store, I’ll go get it for you.’  That’s what this community needs to be doing.”

Lynch says one infected person can infect two or three people by droplets by sneezing or coughing if no proactive measures are taken. 

COVID-19 testing is done by the State after careful determination by a physician and it meets CDC and Indiana State Department of Health guidelines. 

Dr. Browne said residents need to be cautious as this strain of the coronavirus is a serious issue.

“The best that we can determine the mortality of this virus is probably at least one percent which is ten times greater than the mortality of the flu.  This is a very serious and very dangerous situation,” said Dr. Browne. 

The focus is slowing the rate of the spread of the virus. 

Lynch said 80 percent of the people who contracting a virus experience mild symptoms, but those with underlying medical issues are more at risk. 

If there are questions about symptoms, call your physician’s office or call the Starke County Health Department at 574-772-9137.  Visit the CDC’s website or the Indiana State Department of Health’s website for COVID-19 information.