At the time, just two patients at IU Health south central region hospitals had diagnoses for COVID-19.
On Friday, Shockney reported a total of 31 patients who were diagnosed with the virus at IU Health’s hospitals in Bloomington, Bedford and Paoli.
Shockney said, “Over the last 90 days, we have seen a continued increase in our inpatients.” He added, “With the workforce shortages across the state, and nation along with the highly complex care that our patients require, it’s difficult to provide care for all those who need it.”
The number of cases has remained pretty steady for the last three months and would qualify as “low” community spread under the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) categories.
Under the agreement, CBU will be sending three samples a week to the California-based company through Aug. 1, 2023, with the possibility of a one-year extension.
Responding to board questions, CBU’s James Hall, who is assistant director of environmental programs, said that CBU would have access to all of the data collected, but would not have control over its publication by Verily.
Monroe County qualifies as having “low” community spread in part because the case rate per 100,000 population is 137. That’s less than 200, the threshold above which the county would be bumped into the “medium” category, according to the CDC scoring metric.
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.
Just two COVID-19 patients are currently being treated in IU Health hospitals across the health provider’s south central region, which includes Bloomington, Bedford and Paoli.
Both of those patients are at Bloomington’s new hospital, according to Brian Shockney, who is president of IU Health’s south central region. Shockney was speaking at Friday’s biweekly news conference of local leaders on pandemic response.
Monroe County’s indoor mask order was rescinded on a unanimous vote of the Monroe County board of health at its Thursday afternoon meeting.
The indoor mask mandate is no longer in effect after the end of March 3—at midnight between Thursday and Friday. The mandate is connected with an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic virus.
The board of health replaced the mandate with a series of strong recommendations on mask wearing, vaccination, cautions about gathering sizes, and posting of signs by businesses encouraging wearing of masks.
Among the sample signs for businesses shown to board of health members were some that promoted the message: Be nice to people who are wearing masks.
Also in Monroe County the downward trend continued, as the rolling daily average of positive cases dropped to 37. That’s still about twice the rolling average at this same time last year. But it’s just one-eighth the rolling average posted by Monroe County a month ago, on Jan. 21.
Hospitalizations statewide are down, too. The statewide hospital census of COVID-19 patients now stands at 1,093. That’s less than a third of the peak number on Jan. 13, which was 3,519.
It’s a similar picture for Hospital District 8, which includes Monroe County. The District 8 COVID-19 census is now 64 patients compared to 171 a month ago. Besides Monroe County, District 8 includes Brown, Bartholomew, Lawrence, Jackson, Orange, and Washington counties.
The improving trends after the surge, caused by the Omicron variant of the virus, has helped add momentum to sentiment in favor of lifting of various restrictions.