Monroe County adds 235 confirmed COVID-19 cases

The Indiana State Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard for Friday (Sept. 11) shows 235 new confirmed positive cases for Monroe County. That’s three times the previous daily high of 83 on Sept. 4.

According to notes on the dashboard, the confirmed positive numbers reflect when the ISDH receives and confirms the report of a test as positive, not when the specimen for the test was drawn. Positivity rates are computed based on when the specimen was drawn.

Based on Friday’s dashboard, which shows large numbers of new tests that are dated several days earlier, it looks like some of the 235 new positive cases might have had their specimens drawn several days in the past.

Indiana University officials have said they are reporting all their data to the state.

[This article has been updated, with added information appended below].

The moving average for all-test positivity rate rate looks like it has level off in the last couple of days at a bit more than 8 percent.

When Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill updated county commissioners at their regular Wednesday meeting, she said the state was working to incorporate all of the Indiana University negative tests into the dashboard. If they’re not included in the calculations, the positivity rates would be higher than if they were included.

Some additional clarity on the 235 new cases might be available at 1:15 p.m. COVID press conference which is held by local leaders every Friday. The press conferences are live-streamed on the city of Bloomington’s Facebook page.

This piece might be undated based on information provided at the press conference.

Updated: 8:36 a.m. Sept. 12, 2020

A press release from the Indiana State Department of Health and remarks by Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill at Friday afternoon’s press conference both sketched out the possibility that the 235 positive cases confirmed for Friday’s state dashboard report reflected, at least in part, a lag in reporting.

Given the 235 cases, Caudill said it looked like there was more to it than the previously known issue of Indiana University’s negative tests not showing up on the dashboard. “The state has not reported to us exactly the details of that. So I don’t have any specifics that I can share with you about that,” Caudill said.

The ISDH daily press release indicated that for the statewide numbers, “Today’s totals include 15,814 tests from a laboratory that recently began submitting electronic results. Of those total tests, 279 were positive.”

How many of those 279 positive tests contributed to the total of 235 in Monroe County? An ISDH spokesperson told The Square Beacon they are trying to track down an answer to that question.

If the 235 cases came in the normal, routine course of reporting, it would have a sudden impact on the amount of contact tracing that would need to be done. Caudill said that the local department now has to work through the contract tracing issue—some of the cases would be done by the state and some would be done locally, depending on who tested positive and where they were tested.

About the figure of 235 itself, Caudill said, “It is a big number. And I will tell you that when I saw it, my mouth dropped a little bit, too.”

Asked at Friday’s press conference if there are records Indiana University could proactively release publicly to demonstrate that it is reporting all its data to the state, director of media relations Chuck Carney said, “We have to report it to the state. There’s no question on that end. We are doing that.”

IU’s assistant vice president for strategic partnerships Kirk White added that the mitigation tests are being processed by Vault, Inc., which has a connection to Rutgers University. It’s Vault that is required to submit that information to the state, White said.