At its meeting on Thursday, Monroe County’s board of health didn’t make any changes to the health regulations that are meant to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
That means the end of the county’s mask mandate is still tied to hitting a target of 50 positive cases per week per 100,000 people in the county. That target for Monroe County translates into an average of about 10 cases a day.
The county is currently sitting at a daily case average of nearly 4 times the target.
The mask mandate requires people to wear a mask in indoor public places, unless they are actively eating and drinking, among other exceptions.
In light of the current increasing trend for positive cases, board of health members saw no reason to relax the mask requirement. That increasing trend has seen the rolling 7-day daily average just about double in about the last four weeks.
On Oct. 23 the rolling daily average was around 19 cases. By Thursday, that figure had increased to about 37 cases per day.
Shortly after 11 a.m. in Dunn Meadow on Indiana University’s campus, a demonstration tipped off in support of those experiencing homelessness in Bloomington.
Somewhere between 70 and 90 people were a part of the action at various points during the late morning and early afternoon, which would up at the intersection of 17th Street and Woodlawn Avenue, kitty-corner from Indiana University’s Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
That’s where demonstrators set up 17 blue free-standing tents.
Good news tempered with caution about the persistent presence of the pandemic virus was again the theme of this Friday’s weekly press conference on COVID-19 response, held by Bloomington area leaders.
Probably the most significant news out of Friday’s news conference was the fact that Monroe County’s public vaccination site will transition in April from its current location at the county’s convention center to Indiana University’s Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, the school’s basketball venue.
That news came jointly from Indiana University’s assistant vice president for strategic partnerships, Kirk White, and Monroe County’s health administrator, Penny Caudill.
People who get their first shot at the convention center in March will still be able to get the second dose scheduled for the convention center location, Caudill said. IU Health’s vaccination site at its Medical Arts building will continue to offer vaccinations.
To dispense the COVID-19 vaccine, White said IU would use a logistical setup at Assembly Hall similar to the one it deployed for its mass flu vaccination clinic. The initial COVID-19 vaccine supply will not support the full capacity of that setup, White said. “We feel confident that if we had the supply, we could probably run upwards of 2,000 people through in a day.”
Another bit of good news: Brian Shockney, president of IU Health’s south central region, reported that starting March 8, all IU Health hospitals will begin allowing visitors for COVID-19 patients. Shockney said COVID-19 patients will be able to designate two close contacts as visitors, and one of the two designated visitors will be able to visit per day.