HAMILTON COUNTY — In Hamilton County, COVID-19 numbers are still increasing as students all across the region return to classrooms.
Denise Driehaus, president of the Hamilton County Commissioners, said numbers show the increase in cases are coming from the 18-24 age group, and made that topic a main focal point in Wednesday's county COVID-19 briefing.
"I think some of the concern is when the students are off campus, those behaviors become more lax," said Driehaus.
There is, however, more control over younger school-aged children. Hamilton County Education Service Center superintendent Chad Hilliker said being safe at school is certainly possible, in part thanks to an abundance of PPE available as a result of federal CARES Act funding.
"The key is wearing our masks at school," said Hilliker. "Students wearing their masks. Adults wearing their masks. Keeping six feet of distance whenever possible.
He said more than 99,500 face masks, 50,000 face shields and 750 thermometers have been given to schools in Hamilton County. He said the county is also working to be vigilant about reporting cases.
"Each and every school in Hamilton County, every school, doesn't matter what school it is, has a point of contact at Hamilton County Public Health that they can contact if they need assistance, if they have a positive case of COVID-19 and what they're supposed to do," said Hilliker.
He added that, if someone in a classroom tests positive for the virus, that room is left alone for 24 hours and then cleaned.
Hamilton County Commissioners also stressed the need for everyone to practice social distancing for the upcoming Labor Day weekend to prevent an uptick in cases, particularly those in the age group seeing rising case numbers.
"If you're going to have folks over, really try to do that outside, really try to spread six feet apart from your family or those that are not in your household," said Greg Kesterman, Hamilton County Public Health commissioner.
He urged college students in the county to be mindful when they attend gatherings, and to avoid letting their guard down, as the pandemic continues.
"Say, for example, you've been going to college parties or gatherings that are taking more risk, now is not the time to let your guard down," said Kesterman.