"The fact that we're already in the midst of a surge is concerning to see increased cases,” said Dr. Stanley Tretter with the Spencer County Health Department.
Spencer, Posey, Gibson, Pike and Dubious counties are all heading into 2021 in the Red Zone.
"We have been seeing on average between twenty to thirty new patients with Covid everyday, “ Dr. Tretter said. “Sometimes as many as 40 -- which is as many as we've seen since the beginning of the pandemic."
The reason behind the high rate of Covid-19 cases?
Health Departments are tracing them back to family and social gatherings during the holidays, where masks are not being worn and there is minimal to no social distancing.
"We have seen spikes after Thanksgiving, after Labor Day, after major holidays in the past," Dr. Tretter said. "And we are concerned we'll see that after these December holidays as well."
Now in the Red Zone, social gatherings are still limited to twenty five people or less, but health officials warn they could be eliminated all together if people continue to defy the safety regulations in place.
The same goes for businesses being shut down.
"When we see businesses that do not comply -- our process is basically to send reminders, communicate with them and educate them on why that's important and in general we've had a good response with that," Dr. Tretter said.
In Dubious County, they are cracking down on those not complying -- putting cease and desist orders on business doors.
Dr. Shawn Werner with the Dubious County Health Department said, “Those who choose to neglect the recommendations are demonstrating a lack of understanding of how the virus spreads or worse, a lack of caring for their fellow citizens. The cavalier attitude of some is causing fear and concern for many others."
And while health officials understand people want to spend time with their friends for the holiday, it is not the safest choice.
"Many people feel like they have had enough and want to start the New Year off without care towards the pandemic,” Dr. Tretter said. “But unfortunately that's not a viable option. We really need to buckle down more than ever.
The CDC urges people to not travel for the New Year and instead, host virtual family celebrations.