AUBURN — DeKalb County still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 from coronavirus.

County Health Officer Dr. Mark Souder wants to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Toward that goal, Souder is advising county residents to avoid traveling and to isolate themselves if they return from travel.

“People thinking about leaving to go on a trip — they should not,” Souder said Thursday afternoon.

To residents who are considering travel, Souder said, “The viral count in the country is going to make it risky for them and risky for those they return home to — not to mention all the services that are going to be closed down along the way, and the possibility of further restrictions on travel by government officials, while they are traveling.”

Souder said travelers may find that services they need will be closed.

”Right now, we don’t have any known cases in DeKalb County” of COVID-19, Souder said.

“There have been a few tests sent. Test results have been coming in slowly. It’s hard to do surveillance without rapid test results,” he said.

Allen County reported its first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday. Noble County previously reported one of the state’s first case.

“The circulation of activity between people in neighboring counties is very reduced,” Souder said. “Our greatest risk to getting cases in DeKalb County comes from those who are returning home from travel.”

Souder said he is asking residents returning from trips to avoid contact with people in their home communities as much as possible — “as near to a self-quarantine as they can get.”

“They’re the people who are going to be a risk to everybody else in their community. More than they would like to think, that’s a danger,” Souder said.

He added that his advice applies not only to college students who traveled on spring break, “but the parents and families of the college students and anyone else who is traveling.”

Souder said, “Younger people are not immune to severe illness, as we once thought. That should give them further incentive to take care of their own health as well as trying to protect the rest of the community.”

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