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By SARA ARTHURS

Staff Writer

For most of this week, Hancock Public Health has reported no new cases of COVID-19.

The health department attributes Hancock County’s relatively low case numbers to community members heeding public health directives — and encourages us to keep doing so.

“Hancock County is doing an amazing job,” said Jessica Halsey, community health educator with the health department.

She said community members need to continue to follow guidelines, including wearing masks when out in public, practicing hand hygiene and disinfecting surfaces. The county’s relatively low numbers “could change in an instant if we let down our guard,” she said.

Hancock Public Health, which updates the county’s case numbers every afternoon on social media, reported no new cases again Friday, after last reporting a new case on Monday.

The county has a total of 31 confirmed and eight probable cases. The 25 females and 14 males range in age from 15 to 81 years old, with a median age of 46.

One individual has died of the virus and seven others, in addition to that person, have been hospitalized.

Asked specifically about masks, Halsey said she — like many people — has heard a mixture of responses, with some people saying a lot of other people are wearing masks when they’re out and about and others saying few people are doing so. Halsey said it’s important to wear a mask not only to protect yourself, but because if you are wearing a mask, it prevents you from possibly spreading the virus. (It’s possible to spread the coronavirus without having symptoms or knowing that you have it.)

Halsey said the county has been testing according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Ohio Department of Health guidelines, so testing rates are likely similar to other counties. She said as of Friday, 364 Hancock County residents had been tested, of whom 326 were negative and eight were pending.

“Hopefully everybody is listening” to the recommendations from Hancock Public Health and the state, Halsey said.

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Twitter: @swarthurs

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