Monroe County confirmed COVID-19 numbers jump, driven by younger cases

The last two days of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Monroe County have soared past previous highs, since the county’s first confirmed positive case on March 21.

The number reported for Saturday (Aug. 30) was 38, eclipsing the previous one-day total by 3. The number for Sunday was 56, which is about double the current rolling 7-day rolling average of confirmed positives.

Speculation that the increased numbers are driven by positive tests among Indiana University students is supported by the age range of recent cases. Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill told The Square Beacon that the health department was getting reports of increased numbers of positive test among people age 18 to 25.

Caudill told The Square Beacon that she’d been advised that the Indiana State Department of Health will eventually provide a breakdown of Indiana University’s numbers. “I am anxiously awaiting these details from the state,” she said.

Based on Indiana State Department of Health numbers, it’s the younger age brackets that are driving the increases. People under age 30 account for 70 percent of confirmed cases for the three-and-a-half-week period from Aug. 7 through yesterday. Continue reading “Monroe County confirmed COVID-19 numbers jump, driven by younger cases”

IU adjusts with test-on-arrival approach to fit COVID-19 testing landscape, Monroe County positive cases continue to rise

Indiana University still wants all students to be tested for COVID-19 before they start classes in the fall.

The expectation of universal testing was part an update sent to Indiana University faculty and staff on Friday (July 24). It matched the message from the university’s assistant vice president for strategic partnerships, Kirk White, at Friday’s weekly press conference of community leaders.

The novel part of Friday’s announcement was the hybrid test-on-arrival approach that the university will take to getting all students tested.

Those students who are not tested within a 10-day window before arrival will now be tested after arrival. The testing program will be organized by the university itself. Continue reading “IU adjusts with test-on-arrival approach to fit COVID-19 testing landscape, Monroe County positive cases continue to rise”

Monroe County’s new COVID-19 health order on reopening: Will local officials eat their own cooking?

A new COVID-19 health order issued on Thursday by Monroe County’s health officer Thomas Sharp goes into effect starting Saturday, May 16.

In broad strokes, it puts the county in Stage 2 of Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s “Back on Track” plan announced on May 1, with a key difference: Monroe County will stay in Stage 2 an extra week compared to the governor’s plan—that is, through May 31.

One effect of the county’s order is that restaurants can open for dine-in services, at 50 percent capacity. Another effect is that barbers and hairstylists can also open for business. Any business that opens has to follow guidelines in the governor’s order. Continue reading “Monroe County’s new COVID-19 health order on reopening: Will local officials eat their own cooking?”

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”

County-level COVID-19 perspective includes Bloomington mayor’s negative test

Plot of Monroe tests and Positives

On Monday, the city of Bloomington issued a press release announcing the city’s mayor, John Hamilton, had tested negative for COVID-19 after having flu-like symptoms.

Current testing protocols don’t yet include people who are asymptomatic except for first responders and health care workers.

The city had previously announced that Hamilton’s wife, IU law professor Dawn Johnsen, had tested positive on April 9 for COVID-19. She was hospitalized two days later. Monday’s press release says that Johnsen is expected to be discharged soon.

According to the press release, Hamilton’s test was done on April 18, last Saturday.

If Hamilton’s test was already reported to the Indiana State Department of health by Monday, then it was one of six COVID-19 tests recorded for Monroe County residents by that time in the state’s dataset. Continue reading “County-level COVID-19 perspective includes Bloomington mayor’s negative test”