The number of daily COVID-19 cases recorded in Monroe County continues a steady climb.
But guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still peg the community spread of the virus at a “low” level—which is the lowest of its three categories (low, medium, and high).
The rolling daily average of COVID-19 cases in Monroe County has risen steadily, if not dramatically, from about 5 cases a day at the beginning of April to around 26 cases now, at the end of the month.
Hospitalizations in Monroe County remain low. Indiana’s Health District 8, which is made up of 7 counties including Monroe, had a census of 7 COVID-19 patients on Friday. That compares to more than 170 at the peak of the pandemic.
But the 7 patients on Friday compare to just three on Monday. District 8 includes Monroe, Brown, Bartholomew, Lawrence, Jackson, Orange and Washington counties.
Case numbers alone can cause the official CDC community spread classification (low, medium, high) to increase, only if they exceed a total of 200 cases in a week per 100,000 in population.
For Monroe County’s 2020 census population of 139,718, that works out to an average of about 39.9 cases a day. Monroe County’s current rolling average could rise another 14 cases a day before that number is exceeded.
Even if the number of cases stays under 200 per 100,000 population, a sufficiently high number of hospitalizations could cause the CDC classification to increase. But Monroe County is nowhere near the hospitalization numbers that would trigger that re-classification.
Here’s how the CDC classification scheme works:
Associated with each level are recommendations from the CDC.
For Monroe County’s current low level (green), the CDC recommends: staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines; and getting tested if you have symptoms.
For the next level (medium, yellow), the CDC adds talking to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions—if you are at high risk for severe illness. Only for the highest level (red) does the CDC recommend wearing a mask indoors in public.
As measured by the number of virus gene copies in Bloomington’s sewage, the amount of virus circulating in the community is climbing. On April 18 the sample taken at the Blucher Poole wastewater treatment plant showed 260 gene copies per 100 ml. On April 25 that number had quadrupled to 1000 gene copies per 100 ml.