Wayne County has become a member of a club that local officials didn’t want to join.
It is now one of 21 counties with the worst (red) advisory level for COVID-19.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Wayne County health officials have announced a total of seven new local COVID-related deaths.
Four more deaths were reported Wednesday. The deaths included two males and two females.
One of the patients was in their 30s, one in their 50s, and two in their 60s. None were fully vaccinated. One of the victims had received one dose of the Moderna vaccine in April but did not complete the two-dose series to get its full protection.
“We have been at this for well over a year and a half, reporting cases and deaths,” said Dr. David Jetmore, Wayne County health officer. “I thought it would get easier; it hasn’t. Each time we have to report a death, you ask, ‘Could we have done something different? Could we have reached them? Could we have gotten them vaccinated?'”
In the latest set of weekly data announced at noon Wednesday, Sept. 8, Wayne County had 848 cases of COVID per 100,000 residents, and a 7-day test positivity rate of 15.47 percent.
Both are in the worst range, earning a score of 3 each.
In previous weeks, Wayne County has stayed in the less serious orange advisory level, with last week being at a 2.5 score.
Christine Stinson, executive director of Wayne County Health Department, said while a county is under a red advisory level, everyone is encouraged to avoid indoor events.
She said organizers should set capacity limits for events and social gatherings.
“When it is necessary to be in a public space indoors such as a grocery store you should always wear your mask regardless of your vaccination status,” Stinson said in a news release. “During periods of high transmission like we are experiencing now, we must use layers of mitigation strategies , like vaccinations, masking, washing hands and avoiding sick people. If you are sick, stay home. If you have tested positive, abide by the isolation guidelines, and if you are a close contact of a known positive, abide by the quarantine of 14 days of the last contact of the known positive so you do not infect someone else who may end up in the hospital.”
To help meet increased need, Indiana State Department of Health’s strike team will be in Wayne County this week for another drive-thru testing and vaccination event.
Staff will be present on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 10-11, from noon to 8 p.m. both days in the north parking lot of the Ivy Tech campus at 2357 Chester Blvd., Richmond. No appointment is necessary. Both rapid and PCR test will be available at this event.
In addition, Wayne County Health Department continues to offer free weekly testing from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. Appointments are required and can be made by visiting https://scheduling.coronavirus.in.gov .
Interaction Singles announced Wednesday that because of the county’s red status, it would cancel dances until the county is no longer in the red. Club organizers talked with health department officials who strongly recommended a cancellation.
Nearby Franklin County also is in the red, with 609 cases per 100,000 residents and a testing positivity rate of 17.74 percent.
The other counties in red this week are Fulton, Whitley, DeKalb, Parke, Clay, Sullivan, Gibson, Pike, Posey, Warrick, Lawrence, Brown, Orange, Crawford, Jackson, Jennings, Scott, Dearborn and Switzerland. Most are in southern Indiana.
A majority of Indiana counties are colored orange on the map, including Wayne
Three Indiana counties are in the yellow advisory level (Monroe, Porter and LaGrange). None are in the blue, or best advisory level.