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Coronavirus cases on the rise in Huron County

 The president of FLOC believes poor living and working conditions at migrant camps are partly to blame for the spike in COVID-19 cases in Huron County.
The president of FLOC believes poor living and working conditions at migrant camps are partly to blame for the spike in COVID-19 cases in Huron County. (WTVG)
Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 1:40 PM EDT
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Coronavirus cases are soaring and hospitalizations are on the rise in counties across Ohio, including in Huron County.

The area was listed initially as a Level 3, which means there's a high exposure and spread of COVID-19. On Thursday, the county dropped to a Level 2, meaning people should still exercise a high degree of caution.

People who live in Huron County have an idea of what may have caused the jump in COVID-19 cases.

"I think everybody, like I said even myself included, once the stay-at-home order was lifted, we all got complacent and we were tired of it," Huron County resident Susan Thompson said. "We wanted to get back out."

Thompson said stores reopened and people went back to work. She works at a local factory and explained its COVID-19 procedures.

"When someone is around somebody who has it they're only sending them home for three days. They're not in quarantine for 14 days," Thompson said. "They're not mandating a test, you know, so if you're not sticking with the CDC protocols then it's obviously going to spread."

Baldemar Velasquez, president of Farm Labor Organizing Committee, believes the spike may have also been driven by labor camps, where workers are coming to harvest crops. Velasquez said migrant workers typically live in over-crowded housing.

He also said workers are hesitant to tell anyone when they're sick.

"They are notorious for under paying workers and mistreating workers, and workers are going to be afraid to get tested," Velasquez said. "They'll be afraid to to show any kind of symptoms because they know that those labor contractors won't pay them if they don't work."

FLOC is working on an intervention plan to help stop the spread of the virus.

"In Huron County, we have been talking to people at the state level, and we are going to try to organize a cooperation with our mobile health clinic," Velasquez said.

In the meantime, Governor Mike DeWine and local health officials hope citizens make wise decisions.

"I can understand it, they're trying to control it, but I can see if I go into the grocery store or going somewhere and I put (a mask) on," Huron County resident James Gunaris said. "If I'm sitting here and not having a customer why should I have it on. It doesn't make sense."

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