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More COVID cases, rising positivity rate send Allen County into yellow category

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- The color-coded map depicting community spread of COVID-19 looks different compared to two weeks ago as cases spike around the state and across the country.

Allen County is now officially in the yellow category, depicting a higher level of community spread.

"Cases are going up everywhere," Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter said.

He says the highly-contagious delta variant of the virus is responsible for about 75% of Allen County's new cases, but adds that people's behavior or complacency might also be responsible.

He says there is an uptick in people getting vaccinated, which he says is still the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19.

"The people who are really at risk are the unvaccinated and we are unfortunately seeing an uptick in hospitalizations related to that. Again, it's a simple intervention. Those who are vaccinated are generally pretty safe, and those who aren't are greatly at risk for the Delta variant or other variants that may come down the road, too," Sutter said.

He says the majority of people hospitalized or going to the emergency room with COVID are unvaccinated and typically under the age of 40.

Sutter says about 50% of Allen County residents are vaccinated, but he'd like that rate to be 70 to 90% to move the population towards herd immunity.

He says there will continue to be people who refuse to get the shots, but he's hoping to target those who are still undecided.

"I think there's a lot of people who haven't gotten vaccinated who are just hesitant. It seems early, it seems fast, it's confusing, there's so much misinformation, who do you trust? And I think those people, this is the time to really be thinking about this. I think that many people just are confused, and I think it's becoming increasingly clear that there's two groups, the vaccinated who are relatively safe and the unvaccinated who are not," he said.

Leaders at HealthVisions Midwest in Fort Wayne will continue to organize COVID vaccine awareness events and pop-up clinics for the underserved community.

"We are hoping to attract more people. We know and we discussed that we're not expecting the numbers that we had a couple of months ago. But our next step is to remain steady, to not be discouraged," Sharon Tubbs said.

Dr. Sutter says he will ask the county commissioners to implement new mask mandates or other restrictions if Allen County's status moves to orange and the local health care system starts to get overwhelmed.

If you would like to be vaccinated, you can go to to make an appointment.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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