EVANSVILLE — Vanderburgh County added 17 more confirmed COVID-19 cases Wednesday on the Indiana State Department of Health dashboard — the largest daily increase yet and evidence that a recent explosion in cases may not be over.

The news comes one week into a sustained run that has seen Vanderburgh County record 83 new cases since June 24, according to the ISDH. The 17 new cases bring the county's total to 430, including at least 57 cases that are still active.

Wednesday's single-day total of 17 new cases also is a jarring reminder that COVID-19 retains its sting and its ability to disrupt in Vanderburgh County. The county saw its first positive test result on March 19. It took 10 days — until March 29 — to get to a total of 17 cases.

In a Facebook Live appearance Tuesday, Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said the community's hope for better numbers still lies with safety precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing.

Winnecke made his remarks a day before Wednesday's report of a record 17 new cases locally.

"Yes, there has been an uptick — but we can still get ahead of this, and we can get ahead of it by doing the right thing," the mayor said.

Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene are not as onerous and bothersome as some people seem to think, Winnecke said.

"We've all had great fun in doing masks to match whatever outfit or theme. You can have great fun in doing so," he said.

Winnecke pointed out that the Civic Center, which houses his office and many agencies of local government, requires everyone in a common area to wear a mask.

"It's not that big of a deal," he said. "But it does protect everyone who is in that building, and that's the whole key about wearing a mask — you're protecting other people. You're making a bold statement that you want to help keep our community healthy."

On Tuesday, the Vanderburgh County Health Department issued the findings of an investigation into the recent explosion in cases. It found the bulk of the new cases involve young people, some having traveled to coronavirus hot spots in Florida and "a large majority" admitting that they didn't wear masks in public or practice social distancing.

For months now, journalists and interested members of the community have tracked coronavirus cases by following the ISDH dashboard and state and local online dashboards of case totals. Those numbers sometimes fluctuate — the state dashboard reporting different numbers for counties than the counties themselves — because of data reporting discrepancies.

The ISDH updates its online dashboard of COVID-19 data daily, including deaths, as it tracks the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Vanderburgh and Warrick counties also have their own dashboards with their own COVID-19 data.
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