That’s good news, in terms of the state’s metrics for community disease spread. But it still leaves the county at about twice the number of daily cases needed for an automatic lifting of the indoor mask mandate.
The county’s board of health voted to extend the mask mandate at its meeting last week. The lifting of the mandate is not tied to a date, but to a specific benchmark. That benchmark corresponds to a rolling 7-day average of 10.6 cases a day, which is about half the current number.
A four-member committee established by the Monroe County board of commissioners has now met twice as it tackles the task of making recommendations on new precinct boundaries for the county.
Once the precincts are settled, the group will make recommendations on boundaries for county council and county commission districts. It will be the three county commissioners who make the decision on all the boundaries.
Monroe County’s indoor mask mandate, for the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, will continue into November and possibly even beyond—until the county’s positive COVID-19 case numbers drop to fewer than 50 cases per week per 100,000 residents.
That was the unanimous vote of Monroe County’s board of health at its Thursday meeting.
The current regulation goes through the end of October. In the current regulation, a drop in positive case numbers below 50 cases per week per 100,000 residents is also a condition tied to an end to the mask mandate.
Responding to an emailed question from The B Square, county health administrator Penny Caudill said the exact wording of the new regulation was not yet determined.
Monroe County auditor Cathy Smith and Ed Ochsner (Oct. 8, 2021)
Monroe County auditor Cathy Smith, Ed Ochsner and Jean Donatiello (Oct. 8, 2021)
Monroe County auditor Cathy Smith (left) and Susan Brackney (Oct. 8, 2021)
On Friday morning, the first remonstrators against Bloomington’s annexations showed up at Monroe County courthouse.
Friday was the start to the formal petitioning process for property owners inside any of the seven areas that Bloomington wants to annex. That’s because Friday’s edition of The Herald-Times carried a public notice of the city council’s adoption of annexation ordinances.
For Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill, kindness is part of the key to dealing with the current resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
At Friday’s regular news conference of local leaders, Caudill sketched out the rise in the basic pandemic stats and the relatively low vaccination rates.
She then made an appeal to kindness: “You can be part of the solution to this. Be kind to others even when you disagree.” Caudill continued, “Be kind to the workers doing their jobs. Wear your mask as required, and if requested. Stay at home if you’re sick, get tested as appropriate.”
Caudill wrapped up: “So please be kind. And we want people to get vaccinated.” Caudill said, the best place to find information about times and locations of vaccination clinics is still at ourshot.in.gov
The vaccination rate among eligible Monroe County residents is still only about 57.2 percent, well short of the 70 percent that was batted around as a target in the early days of vaccination.
A work session held by Bloomington’s city council on Friday at noon highlighted a fact about Indiana’s current annexation law, which has a potential impact that does not seem to be widely understood.
A 2015 amendment to the state statute on annexation looks like it gives a city exactly one more chance to expand along any segment of its boundary. After that, the annexed area forms a kind of wall to future annexation. It’s not possible to add another layer right on top of that one expansion.
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.
Van Buren Township, which forms part of the western edge of Monroe County, sits at the southwest corner of the city of Bloomington.
The township’s trustee is Rita Barrow, who has been elected to the post by Van Buren voters.
But most Van Buren Township residents can’t vote for mayor, clerk, or councilmembers in Bloomington’s municipal elections. That’s because it’s only some small areas of Van Buren, with odd geometries, that currently are included inside city boundaries.
Under a current proposal by Bloomington to annex more township territory into the city, more denizens of the township would add city residency to their resumes in 2024, and get the right to vote in city elections.
But the next Bloomington election would not come around until four years later, in November 2027.