COVID-19 pandemic notebook: Cases have bumped up a bit, hospitalizations still low

The number of COVID-19 cases in Monroe County was up last week, but they might be showing signs that they’re settling back down.

That’s the word from the state’s Monday dashboard update, and confirmed to The B Square by Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill. Hospitalizations are still low.

On Monday, the total COVID-19 hospital census for Monroe County’s District 8 was 3 patients. District 8 includes Monroe, Brown, Bartholomew, Lawrence, Jackson, Orange and Washington counties.

The statewide COVID-19 hospital census on Monday was 152. That compares to more than 3,000 patients at the pandemic’s peak earlier this year.

In the last week, the rolling 7-day average of reported COVID-19 cases in Monroe County has risen to about 16 cases a day. The week before that, in mid-April, the average was holding steady at around 10 cases a day.

Before that, from the first week of April stretching back to early March, the average daily cases for Monroe County was reliably under 10.

Monroe County’s rolling average of 16 to 18 cases a day over the last four days puts the county just under the average daily case totals at this same time last year, which were between 19 and 21 cases a day.

About the rise in case counts in the last couple of weeks Caudill wrote to the B Square in response to a question: “The best explanation for the increase is simply that more virus is circulating at this time.”

The measurements of gene copies in the city’s wastewater also reflect more virus present in the April 18 samples than in the  April 11 samples.

Caudill wrote that the numbers look like they’re now dropping again after the rise late last week. The numbers might continue to improve. But Caudill also cautioned that the county could see another increase after the Little 500 race festivities over last weekend.

The state is also now more precisely allocating the case counts to the date when the test was done, not when the positive test was reported. That means the numbers showing now for Saturday and Sunday—which total just 3 cases for Monroe County—could be bigger after the state dashboard’s next update, on Wednesday.

Caudill also said that even though the Centers for Disease Control community spread classification is currently low (green), the recent increases could be reflected in a worse classification in the coming weeks—because the CDC map lags a bit behind the freshest data.

Caudill added, “Increased awareness is good.” She reminded people to stay home when they’re sick, to wear masks if it’s recommended, and to get tested if needed.