A closer look at some COVID-19 trends behind re-opening Indiana: Monroe County in statewide context

Barchart COVID-19 admittances

When Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, gave his state of the city address on Feb. 20, just 15 cases of the COVID-19 virus were confirmed nationwide, none of them in the Hoosier state.

Now two and a half months later, 1,132 residents of Indiana have died of COVID-19, out of about 20,000 confirmed cases.

In Monroe County, the count of COVID-19 deaths stands at 8, out of a total of 130 confirmed positive cases. Of the eight Monroe County deaths, three are female, one male and one is unknown. Four were between 70 and 79 years old, three were older than 80, and one was 50 to 59. All eight were White.

An economic shutdown prompted by COVID-19 began with Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s “Hunker-Down, Hoosiers” order six weeks ago, on March 25.

Now most of the state is preparing for a partial emergence from that shutdown on the morning of Monday May 4.

Under Holcomb’s Friday order, most of the state will see all retail stores allowed to open on Monday at 50 percent of their occupational capacity. Under Holcomb’s order, a week later, on May 11, restaurants would be allowed to open for dine-in service at 50 percent of their seating capacity. The governor’s order includes a series of phases that lead to a mostly complete re-opening by July 4.

But Monroe County health officials, with support from other government leaders, are using their option to keep the county buttoned up a bit longer. Continue reading “A closer look at some COVID-19 trends behind re-opening Indiana: Monroe County in statewide context”

A peek under the hood of the ISDH COVID-19 data dashboard as Indiana’s health department preps to release race data

At Thursday’s daily press briefing on the COVID-19 public health crisis, Indiana governor Eric Holcomb recited some numbers with literally biblical proportions.

Holcomb led off quoting Matthew 18:20: “It says, ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I.'”

Holcomb added, “And of course, that’s a pretty powerful reminder that it’s two or three, not 200 or 300 or 3,000.”

Holcomb’s point was to encourage residents of the Hoosier state to celebrate Easter this coming Sunday with their nuclear families, not in large crowds, to respect the strictures that have been put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic virus.

Serving as a kind of statistical reference bible for the press briefings is the website dashboard that’s maintained  by the Indiana State Department of Health for COVID-19 confirmed cases, tests, and deaths.

From the dashboard, Kristina Box, the state’s health commissioner, delivered Thursday’s somber news: 42 more were dead from the virus across the state.

On Thursday, Box previewed some numbers on the race of COVID-19 victims, fielded questions about the way death statistics are presented, and other queries from journalists made possible by the data in the dashboard. Continue reading “A peek under the hood of the ISDH COVID-19 data dashboard as Indiana’s health department preps to release race data”

Bloomington utilities hopes to report on water main breaks by late August

On Monday evening, a water main broke at 6th Street and College Avenue, on the northwest side of the courthouse square in downtown Bloomington.

Cropped better closeup of water IMG_9818
Looking west down the hill of 6th Street from College Street. July 29, 2019. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

For the month of July, that brought the number of breaks citywide  to an even dozen, matching the total for June.

The City of Bloomington’s Utility Department hopes to have a report on water main breaks ready for presentation to the city council by Aug. 21, according to public affairs specialist Holly McLauchlin.

Added to the 44 breaks through June, the 12 in July make 56 water main breaks so far in 2019, with five months left on the calendar. That means through July, Bloomington has seen at least 20 more breaks, in the same seven-month period, than for any of the previous six years. Continue reading “Bloomington utilities hopes to report on water main breaks by late August”

Beacon Benchmark: What is this place?

Note: Beacon Benchmark columns are a way for the B Square Beacon’s writer to give readers some regular behind-the-scenes insight into this website, which aims to serve some of the news and information needs of Bloomington, Indiana.  

On Sunday morning, my wife and I ate breakfast at the Village Deli on Kirkwood Avenue. It is a weekly habit.

The server concluded the order-taking ritual with a friendly, “Thanks, ya’ll.”

Hearing that version of the second-person plural pronoun reminded me of a Blaze Foley lyric from a tune called Clay Pigeons: “Tryin’ to hide my sorrow from the people I meet/ And get along with it all/ Go down where the people say ‘Y’all'” Continue reading “Beacon Benchmark: What is this place?”