Five new cases of COVID-19 were reported in DeWitt County between June 30 and July 4, with health officials linking them to more travel and household contacts of others who have had the illness.

“The surge of cases is most likely due to travel outside DeWitt and Piatt County, along with an increase of testing within the community. The more tests that are completed, the more likely it is to find the infected individuals,” said DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Administrator David Remmert.

DeWitt County has seen 12 people test positive for COVID-19, about 1.1 percent of the 1,050 who have been tested. Seven of those 12 are considered recovered.

Piatt County has recorded 20 cases, also about 1.1 percent of the 1,892 tested. Eighteen have recovered.

Even better news is that local cases have typically been mild, with no hospitalizations or deaths reported, said Remmert.

He added that the current trend is cases in younger populations.

“Most cases are occurring among younger and healthier age groups. Typically, these individuals recover well with mild signs and symptoms,” stated Remmert. “We have done a good job of protecting vulnerable populations,” which include residents of long-term health centers.

Last week's new cases in DeWitt County included a 19-year-old female and a 21-year-old female in the same household; a 44-year-old male an 5-year-old male, who were household contacts of another case; and a 27-year-old male.

Masks have helped, and will continue to help curb the spread of COVID-19, said Remmert.

“Remember, the mas/face covering protects others by preventing the transmission of potentially infectious secretions from your nose or mouth while talking, laughing, sneezing or coughing,” added the health official.

He also recommended that those who travel out of their area by tested upon their return.