The last two days of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Monroe County have soared past previous highs, since the county’s first confirmed positive case on March 21.
The number reported for Saturday (Aug. 30) was 38, eclipsing the previous one-day total by 3. The number for Sunday was 56, which is about double the current rolling 7-day rolling average of confirmed positives.
Speculation that the increased numbers are driven by positive tests among Indiana University students is supported by the age range of recent cases. Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill told The Square Beacon that the health department was getting reports of increased numbers of positive test among people age 18 to 25.
Caudill told The Square Beacon that she’d been advised that the Indiana State Department of Health will eventually provide a breakdown of Indiana University’s numbers. “I am anxiously awaiting these details from the state,” she said.
Indiana University campus: Square Beacon file photo from April of statue of Herman B Wells, former chancellor of Indiana University.
Indiana University still wants all students to be tested for COVID-19 before they start classes in the fall.
The expectation of universal testing was part an update sent to Indiana University faculty and staff on Friday (July 24). It matched the message from the university’s assistant vice president for strategic partnerships, Kirk White, at Friday’s weekly press conference of community leaders.
The novel part of Friday’s announcement was the hybrid test-on-arrival approach that the university will take to getting all students tested.
In broad strokes, it puts the county in Stage 2 of Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s “Back on Track” plan announced on May 1, with a key difference: Monroe County will stay in Stage 2 an extra week compared to the governor’s plan—that is, through May 31.
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.
On Monday, the city of Bloomington issued a press release announcing the city’s mayor, John Hamilton, had tested negative for COVID-19 after having flu-like symptoms.
Current testing protocols don’t yet include people who are asymptomatic except for first responders and health care workers.
The city had previously announced that Hamilton’s wife, IU law professor Dawn Johnsen, had tested positive on April 9 for COVID-19. She was hospitalized two days later. Monday’s press release says that Johnsen is expected to be discharged soon.
According to the press release, Hamilton’s test was done on April 18, last Saturday.