It is not a hoax. It is real. 

And you can help control it.

We’re talking about the COVID-19 numbers, which continue to climb across the state and across the country. 

According to Archbold’s numbers, the entire system admitted a total of 32 patients for COVID-19 from June 2-30.

Last week alone, there were 49 patients admitted to Archbold hospitals for COVID-19. For July, the health system has had 130 people hospitalized for the coronavirus. That’s more than half of the total of people who had been admitted since the outbreak began through June 1. 

There have been 102 COVID-19 patients admitted just to Archbold Memorial Hospital for July.

We have no local mask mandates, though some businesses, especially large retailers, are requiring customers to wear masks to enter buildings. 

Just to our south, Leon County has instituted one on June 25. After recording 156 new cases on July 3 and 150 on July 4, there were just 185 cases combined from July 5-7, according to the Florida Department of Health’s statistics. Leon County has had only eight days with at least 100 new cases since the mandate went into effect. 

The Georgia Department of Public Health continues to advise residents to wash their hands frequently, disinfect surfaces, refrain from touching your face, keep at least six feet of space between others and wear a mask in public. 

For the last two weeks, Thomas and Grady counties have added 392 new COVID-19 cases. Yes, more people are getting tested. Yes, that will result in more positive test results. 

But testing doesn’t stop the spread. What testing tells us is how many have it or have had it — and how fast the spread is still growing. Testing also does not tell us who may have coronavirus without knowing it. 

And as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point out, a negative test only means you don’t have coronavirus at the time you were tested. It does not mean you won’t test positive at a later date. 

While vaccine trials are underway, there is no indication when those will be available — or even if they will work. In the meantime, the CDC recommends to:

• Wash your hands often

• Avoid close contact

• Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face mask when around others.

• Cover coughs and sneezes

• Clean and disinfect

• Monitor your health daily and watch for symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath

Help yourself, and others, by following these steps to cut down on the COVID-19 spread.

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