New limits set as COVID-19 crisis spikes

Staff Writer

    Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories from the lengthy emergency meeting held Wednesday evening between Adams County Health Officer Dr. Michael Ainsworth and county officials.

    Adams County will see new COVID-19 guidelines in the near future following an emergency meeting held Wednesday night by the county health officer, Dr. Michael Ainsworth.
    The number of positive cases in Adams County has risen sharply since the start of fall. At least one new COVID-19 death has been reported in the county every day of the week up until Thursday, and Adams Memorial’s ICU is at capacity, Ainsworth said earlier this week.
    Joining Ainsworth at the meeting were a number of elected officials and organization heads, including Mayors Dan Rickord and Gregg Sprunger and members of the local county, city and town councils.
    Adams Memorial Hospital Attorney Adam Miller started off the night explaining the meeting’s purpose — to call together local leadership and workshop a solution to stem the rise of COVID-19 cases in Adams County. The meeting was suggested by Rickord, who Ainsworth described as the first elected official to reach out to the health department and offer help since the pandemic began.
    The health officers in District 3, which encompasses Northeast Indiana, have seen a huge spike in COVID-19 cases, Ainsworth said. It started Sept. 26, when the state moved to Stage 5 of re-entry, causing an immediate jump in cases.
    “It may have just come at the wrong time but I think more than anything, people took it as, ‘we’re free to do whatever we want and ignore the existing mask mandate,’” Ainsworth said. He cited the increase in festivals and the change in weather patterns as another reason cases have been on the rise. See Friday's print or online edition of the Daily Democrat for the full story.