Third COVID-19 death reported in county


The Indiana State Department of Health reported Thursday that a third Jackson County resident has died from COVID-19.

That death occurred May 24 and was listed on the state’s COVID-19 Dashboard at The report also showed seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been recorded in the county through midnight Wednesday, bringing the county’s total of confirmed cases to 428.

Through Monday, 369 of the COVID-19 cases in the county involved those living in the 47274 ZIP code (Seymour); 22 more were in the 47229 ZIP code (Crothersville); 14 were in the 47220 ZIP code (Brownstown); and six in the 47228 ZIP code (Cortland). There were no confirmed cases in the 47281 ZIP code (Vallonia), and the number of the cases in the other ZIP codes in the county were low enough to be suppressed.

Statewide 2,304 people have died from COVID-19 through midnight Wednesday, and the number of confirmed has risen to 41,438. The number of people tested for the virus stood at 384,722.

The state also reported 36.9% of the intensive care unit beds in the state were free as of midnight Wednesday and 81.6% of the ventilators in the state were not in use. Of the 2,499 ICU beds in the state, 9.5% were being used by COVID-19 patients, and 3.7% of the ventilators were being used by COVID-19 patients.

On Tuesday, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported there were 121 new unemployment claims filed in Jackson County through the week ending June 13. Continued claims through the weekend ending June 6 were 1,699, down from 3,070 on May 9.

Also Wednesday, results from the second phase of a scientific study of statewide random testing aimed at measuring the spread of the novel coronavirus in Indiana were released. Those results show fewer active infections and a greater number of people testing positive for antibodies.

“Taken together, this is evidence that the virus has slowed its spread within Indiana,” said Nir Menachemi, lead scientist on the study and a professor and Fairbanks Endowed Chair in the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. “We currently have more people previously infected than are currently infected.”

In its second phase, the study — a collaboration between the Indiana State Department of Health and Fairbanks School of Public Health — tested more than 3,600 Hoosiers between June 3 and 8 for viral infections and antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease.

This number includes more than 2,700 people who were randomly selected and almost 1,000 volunteers recruited through outreach to vulnerable populations in Marion, Allen and LaGrange counties.

“By using a random sample, we can get more valid and generalizable estimates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Indiana,” said Paul Halverson, founding dean of the Fairbanks School. “By taking multiple random samples across different time periods, we are able to observe how the virus is affecting Hoosiers over time.”

After analyzing the results of Phase 2 testing in comparison to the results of the first phase that took place in late April, researchers determined the statewide estimate for active infection rate was 0.6%, a decrease from the 1.7% observed in Phase 1. The estimate for antibody positivity in Phase 2 was 1.5%, an increase from 1.1% in the Phase 1 results.

“While the reasons for this decline could vary, it is likely that the virus has slowed due to our collective efforts to be safer, engage in social distancing and reduce transmission by wearing masks and adhering to higher hand- and surface-hygiene standards,” Menachemi said. “This was an example of Hoosiers successfully hunkering down during the initial outbreak.”

Though the ratio between active infections and antibody positivity improved in Phase 2, researchers continued to see disparities among minority communities. These groups still show evidence of being harder hit with coronavirus infections, Menachemi said.

For non-whites, the active infection rate in Phase 2 was 1.4% — lower than the 3.4% observed in Phase 1 — and antibody positivity rates were 5.6%, which was greater than the 1.6% found in the first phase.

The estimated statewide rate among Hispanics showed a decrease in active infections from 6.9% in Phase 1 to 2.6% in Phase 2. Antibody positivity rates among Hispanics increased from 1.5% in Phase 1 to 8.5% in Phase 2.

Across Indiana’s 10 Public Health Preparedness Districts, results followed a similar pattern with decreases in active infection rates and increases in antibody positivity rates.

“The reason we were able to move to Stage 4 of our reopening plan was because Hoosiers took steps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, and these data show that those steps have worked,” State Health Commissioner Kristina Box said. “But we still have active transmission, and we must continue to take steps to protect our most vulnerable Hoosiers.”

Based on Phase 2 data, the researchers estimated 43% of all Hoosiers who are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 show no symptoms. This rate is similar to the almost 45% who tested positive for active viral infection and reported no symptoms at all in the first phase.

“We should be aware of the experiences of other states. The virus can still be actively transmitted if we are not careful,” Menachemi said. “Based on the preliminary Phase 2 results, it appears we have been successful in limiting the spread of the coronavirus but have not eliminated the risk. Hoosiers need to be diligent to adhere to any and all measures designed to keep transmission low.”

The next phases of testing are planned for fall 2020 and April 2021.

No posts to display