COVID-19 case numbers continue downward trend, vaccinations upward

All the relevant infection numbers for COVID-19 in Monroe County and across the state of Indiana continue their downward trend.

The IU Health and Monroe County vaccination clinics were closed on Monday and Tuesday due to the heavy snowfall, but are making up cancelled appointments.

Brian Shockney, president of IU Health’s south central region, said on Friday that IU Health’s hospitals across the state continue to see fewer COVID-19 patients.

Shockney was speaking at Friday’s weekly press conference of local leaders to talk about COVID-19 response.

In Bloomington, 39 percent of IU Health’s intensive care units were occupied, Shockney said. Shockney displayed a chart of the hospital census in Monroe County, which combined IU Health’s hospital with Monroe County hospital. The combined total for the most recent numbers is now even lower than at the start of April 2020.

The lower hospitalization numbers mean the severity and the spread of illness is much lower, Shockney said.

At Friday’s weekly news conference, Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, noted that the city of Bloomington had no new confirmed COVID-19 cases to report in the last seven days. The total number of cases among city employees currently stands at 71.

On the vaccination front, Shockney said IU Health’s clinic has administered 26,037 total doses. That is a little over 90 percent of the vaccine that the clinic has been allocated, according to Shockney.

The numbers that Shockney reports at the weekly news conference are the number of doses administered by IU Health. They don’t match the numbers reported on the state’s vaccination dashboard, which are broken down by the county of residence.

The vaccine arrives at the two local clinics in weekly shipments. Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill said on Friday that the county’s clinic had seen a delayed shipment this week due to the heavy snowfall. It’s still expected to arrive,  and the delay has not had an impact, she said. “We did miss a shipment. It’s delayed. So it will come. But it is not creating a problem for us yet,” Caudill said.

IU Health’s clinic was already squared away for this week, despite the snowfall. Shockney said, “We were able to get our shipment and we are expecting our shipment on time next week to fulfill the next week’s appointments.”

Shockney said IU Health has been calling people who had their appointments canceled due to the clinic closures, to reschedule those cancelled appointments. He reported on Friday, “We have almost completed all rescheduled vaccines.” Only a handful of those who had cancelled appointments have not selected a time for rescheduling, Shockney said.

According to the state’s vaccination dashboard, 9,152 Monroe County residents have so far received both of the two doses that are required for full vaccination. That’s a bit more than 6 percent of the county’s population.

Vaccination is by appointment only. Eligibility is currently restricted to frontline healthcare workers and those who are 65 and older.