Indiana’s COVID-19 dashboard recorded 100 positive cases for Monroe County on Tuesday, Dec. 21.
That’s the highest daily total the county has seen since early January. It’s the 19th time Monroe County has hit triple digits for a day, since the county’s first positive case was identified on March 21, 2020.
The dashboard won’t get updated again until Monday, Dec. 27. The tentative date for the next news conference hosted by local leaders about their response to the pandemic is Thursday, Dec. 30.
One topic that could come up at the news conference is the vaccination status of local government employees.
A Jan. 4 deadline for vaccination or testing has been set by U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for employers with more than 100 workers. Under the OSHA requirement, employees would have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, or get a weekly test for the virus.
COVID-19 numbers are up for Monroe County, but might have plateaued for at least some measures. That contrasts with numbers statewide, which show a clear upward trend.
The generally higher numbers now, compared to a month ago, are blamed by health officials on the prevalence of the Delta variant of the virus, which is more infectious.
According to Indiana’s COVID-19 dashboard, over the last four weeks, when samples of positive tests were taken and genetically sequenced, about 87 percent of them showed they were caused by the Delta variant.
Two deaths, one each on the last two days of July, brought Monroe County’s total number of deaths due to the pandemic to 180.
In Monroe County, the count of COVID-19 deaths stands at 8, out of a total of 130 confirmed positive cases. Of the eight Monroe County deaths, three are female, one male and one is unknown. Four were between 70 and 79 years old, three were older than 80, and one was 50 to 59. All eight were White.
An economic shutdown prompted by COVID-19 began with Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s “Hunker-Down, Hoosiers” order six weeks ago, on March 25.
Now most of the state is preparing for a partial emergence from that shutdown on the morning of Monday May 4.
Under Holcomb’s Friday order, most of the state will see all retail stores allowed to open on Monday at 50 percent of their occupational capacity. Under Holcomb’s order, a week later, on May 11, restaurants would be allowed to open for dine-in service at 50 percent of their seating capacity. The governor’s order includes a series of phases that lead to a mostly complete re-opening by July 4.
At Thursday’s daily press briefing on the COVID-19 public health crisis, Indiana governor Eric Holcomb recited some numbers with literally biblical proportions.
Holcomb led off quoting Matthew 18:20: “It says, ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I.'”
Holcomb added, “And of course, that’s a pretty powerful reminder that it’s two or three, not 200 or 300 or 3,000.”
Holcomb’s point was to encourage residents of the Hoosier state to celebrate Easter this coming Sunday with their nuclear families, not in large crowds, to respect the strictures that have been put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic virus.
Serving as a kind of statistical reference bible for the press briefings is the website dashboard that’s maintained by the Indiana State Department of Health for COVID-19 confirmed cases, tests, and deaths.
From the dashboard, Kristina Box, the state’s health commissioner, delivered Thursday’s somber news: 42 more were dead from the virus across the state.
Note: Beacon Benchmark columns are a way for the B Square Beacon’s writer to give readers some regular behind-the-scenes insight into this website, which aims to serve some of the news and information needs of Bloomington, Indiana.
On Sunday morning, my wife and I ate breakfast at the Village Deli on Kirkwood Avenue. It is a weekly habit.
The server concluded the order-taking ritual with a friendly, “Thanks, ya’ll.”