Upward nudge in Monroe County COVID-19 case numbers means local health regs likely to stay in place, after governor’s April 6 end date

The dark purple line is the 7-day rolling average of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. The height of the red line is at 21.2 cases a day. That’s the daily average below which Monroe County needs to stay in order to remain in the “yellow” category for weekly cases per 100,000 residents, in the state’s dual-metric classification scheme.

Indiana governor Eric Holcomb announced Tuesday an end to statewide COVID-19 restrictions, starting April 6.

But Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill said on Friday that Monroe County’s regulations will remain in place for the time being.

That’s based in part on a recent uptick in positive cases in the county, which includes Indiana University’s campus.

Caudill was speaking at the weekly Friday news conference held by local officials on COVID-19 response.

Under the county board of health’s current health order, Caudill and county health officer Thomas Sharp have the “the ability to adjust restrictions—in any particular area—as required, in order to protect the public health.”

The county board of health is next scheduled to meet on April 6 at 4 p.m. Caudill said the board routinely looks at the pandemic data to make changes and adapt as numbers improve. Continue reading “Upward nudge in Monroe County COVID-19 case numbers means local health regs likely to stay in place, after governor’s April 6 end date”

County board of health turns recs into regs after university imposes quarantine on Greek houses due to “alarming” number of COVID-19 cases

After peaking at around 20 in the third week of July, the 7-day rolling average of positive cases in Monroe County dropped to about half that by the first week of August. Now, in the third week of August, it’s reached around 20 cases per day again.

Two and a half weeks ago, on Aug. 5, Monroe County’s board of health issued a set of recommendations for residential and communal living facilities, to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic virus. The recommendations also applied to Indiana University Greek houses.

On Friday, the county board of health voted unanimously to give the county attorney and the health officer the authority to convert the recommendations into something stronger—regulations, which can be enforced under county ordinance.

For example, the previously recommended occupancy for a communal living facility was a range from 50 to 75 percent. Friday’s action will cap the occupancy at 75 percent, and that will have the force of a regulation. Based on the discussion at Friday’s board of health meeting, the regulatory cap means some sorority and fraternity members will need to move out of their Greek houses.

The recommendation allowing “essential” guests but prohibiting “non-essential” guests, among other previous recommendations, will also become a regulation.

Violations of a regulation issued by the county board of health is a Class C ordinance violation, which carries with it a possible $500 fine.

The board’s action came after Indiana University announced the previous day that it had directed all Greek houses to suspend “in-person organizational activities” other than dining and housing for live-in members until at least Sept. 14, 2020.

The university’s action came after an “alarming” number of cases was identified in some Greek houses, and a letter was sent to some of them by the county health department. Continue reading “County board of health turns recs into regs after university imposes quarantine on Greek houses due to “alarming” number of COVID-19 cases”

12 new COVID-19 cases in Monroe County most on single day since outbreak started

In a press release issued late Wednesday afternoon, Monroe county’s health department said it’s investigating a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases, after the state’s dashboard, updated every day at noon, showed 12 new cases for the county.

The 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported on Wednesday were logged on June 16, according to the Indiana State Department of Heath’s dashboard. That is the highest number for any single day in Monroe County since the first case was recorded on March 21. Continue reading “12 new COVID-19 cases in Monroe County most on single day since outbreak started”