Here are some local COVID updates:
• Indiana Department of Health and Wayne County Health Department are partnering to hold a free drive-thru testing clinic for COVID-19. The clinic opened Tuesday, Jan. 5, and will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday, Jan. 9, outside Kuhlman Center on the Wayne County Fairgrounds, 861 Salisbury Road N., Richmond. Testing will be available to all members of the public regardless of symptoms. Children as young as 2 can be tested with parental consent.
Richmond Mayor Dave Snow announced Tuesday night that despite his best efforts to stay healthy, he has received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Snow said on his Facebook that he began experiencing mild symptoms late Monday night and went in for testing early Tuesday morning. Snow had attended a Richmond Common Council meeting on Monday evening. Although he is quarantined at home, Snow said he plans to continue to serve the community and work virtually. “This pandemic has touched so many people and I am grateful that my symptoms are manageable,” Snow wrote.
If you tuned out pandemic news over the holidays, here are some local COVID updates and ideas for safe New Year’s alternative activities:
*Wayne County Health Department is looking for non-medical and medical volunteers to help operate its COVID vaccination clinic, which could open as soon as Jan. 11, when a shipment of Moderna vaccines is expected to arrive. Health officials initially announced vaccines would be arriving Jan. 4, but that shipment date was delayed a week. Those interested in volunteering at the clinic are asked to contact Dan Burk, the health department’s emergency preparedness coordinator, at email@example.com.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s weekly news conference, November 18, was led by Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana’s State Health Commissioner, as the Governor and his wife quarantine at home per COVID-19 guidelines. Several members of his security detail tested positive for COVID the day before. While neither the Governor nor his wife have symptoms, they have participated in contact tracing and will get tested later in the week. Dr. Box recommends getting tested 48 hours from the first sign of positive symptoms in a close contact. Cases are rising dramatically in Indiana and across the Midwest.
Wayne County’s positive COVID cases have now surpassed 1,700, as of Sunday, Nov. 1, and the county counts 36 deaths related to the virus. The county’s number of lab-confirmed positives have been increasing by the dozens in daily data released from Indiana State Department of Health. Three of the recent local deaths related to COVID-19 all have been in the community, with none from long-term care facilities, according to Christine Stinson, executive director of Wayne County Health Department. Local health officials said they had just been notified Wednesday about the death of a 65-year-old female who died Oct.
Because of multiple COVID-19 positive students, specifically from the same classrooms, Northeastern Middle School and High School will operate virtually from Oct. 29 through Nov. 11, returning on Nov. 12. Northeastern families who are directly impacted by the ill students have been contacted by Wayne County Health Department.
At its Thursday, Oct. 22 meeting, Wayne County Health Board issued a new list of directives to schools, many of which are related to sporting events, because of moderate to high community spread of the COVID-19 virus. Restrictions including limiting the number of students to those athletes who will compete; eliminating cheerleading, bands or other spirit activities; providing two tickets to each dressed player; monitoring and requiring social distancing and masking for players, coaches and fans; eliminating large-group activities or assemblies; and sending home any students with symptoms.
Schools are to discuss with parents the importance of their family’s behaviors outside school and encourage parents to limit or eliminate the social events their student attends. As they explained the new requirements, a letter signed by superintendents from Nettle Creek, Northeastern, Centerville and Western Wayne school districts said that at this time, “we will continue to operate school as we have been.” “In order for our schools to remain open, we need everyone to continue to help us do that.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s weekly news conference looked different today than it has since the beginning of the pandemic. The numbers are rising, and the governor strongly warned Hoosiers not to let their guard down. Even practicing what she preaches, Indiana’s State Health Commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, and her family have not avoided the coronavirus. After two daycare workers at her 23-month-old grandson’s small daycare center tested positive, she, her daughter, and grandson have all tested positive, as well. The ripple effect resulted in the governor’s staff and everyone Dr. Box was exposed to getting tested today to determine how far the virus spread inside the Indiana statehouse.
Wayne County has had its 17th and 18th deaths related to COVID-19 within a few days of each other, and officials are very concerned about an increase in the county’s cases, just surpassing 1,000. “Our cases are surging and we are very concerned,” said Wayne County Health Department Executive Director Christine Stinson. “We have seen a dramatic increase in cases in people over 70. It is vital we all do our part for our community, wear a mask when in public, do not attend large events.” The county’s 17th death was a female in her 80s living in a long-term care facility, according to Stinson.
Wayne County has marked its 16th death related to COVID-19, and state and local health officials are currently responding to an outbreak in a long-term care facility. A death of a female in her early 90s on Oct. 3 has been attributed to COVID-19, according to Christine Stinson, executive director of Wayne County Health Department. Stinson said the patient was a resident of a long-term care facility. Wayne County health officials are hoping October will be an overall less deadly month for local residents if safety precautions are widely taken.