The way Dr. Christopher Bunce sees it, Jackson County has enough positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to put the area in the highest category for spread of the virus — red.
“We’ve had an alarming increase in our COVID infection rates in the state and the county,” said Bunce, who serves as the health officer for the Jackson County Health Department. “This is putting a huge strain on our ability to deliver health care, not just COVID-19 health care, but all aspects of health care in the community.”
During Schneck Medical Center’s weekly COVID update, Susan Zabor, vice president of clinical and provider management and chief quality officer, reported the numbers continue to climb putting the community in a dangerous position for the future.
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“We have had over the last eight days 495 additional positives,” she said. “Since yesterday, there’s been 68 new cases in the county.”
That puts Jackson County’s total positive cases at 2,126 with 33 deaths and a 7-day positivity rate of 13%.
Yet again, this is the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases reported in a single day in the county. The previous record was 60 cases reported Monday. It also increases the positivity rate by .7%.
“When you look at unique patients that’s 26.9%,” Zabor said.
As of Tuesday morning, Schneck had 24 COVID positive patients at the hospital, nine or 10 of which are on ventilators, leaving the hospital with just five additional ventilators to use, Zabor said.
There are four patients using a different therapy called vapotherm, she added. There are
10 more vapotherm machines available at the hospital.
“What we’re seeing here is our hospitalizations continue to be very, very high,” she said.
Although one ICU bed was available as of Tuesday, Zabor said it quickly would be filled.
“Our ICU is currently full,” she said.
Statewide, there is just 24.3% of ICU beds available, while there is 71.9 of ventilators still available for use.
Bunce said the situation is what health officials feared the most.
“This is the thing we were worried about the most and it’s coming true,” he said.
He advised everyone to do better at wearing masks, washing hands, maintaining social distance from others and eliminating group settings.
“We have to redouble all of our efforts,” he said.
The health department will be stepping up its efforts by checking on local businesses to make sure they are doing what they should be doing, he added.
“We’ve done a lot to try to get the word out to the community but we need everyone’s help,” he said. “We need everyone to join in and work together because I think we’ve done everything we can and we’re going to continue to try to monitor this, but the numbers look bad for the next couple of months.”
Zabor agreed and said the positivity rate is alarming because it puts the county at a 10 to 15% hospitalization rate.
Positivity rate is determined by a seven-day moving average with a six-day lag, meaning the current positivity rate for Jackson County would be for Nov. 11 to 17.
It’s calculated by dividing the total number of positive tests by the total number of tests administered. The reason for the lag is to give time to receive comprehensive results.
“Typically, those hospitalizations occur about 8 to 12 days after positivity, so that’s a lag measure for us,” she said. “We’re projecting out what those hospitalizations are going to be in the next couple of weeks and it’s not a good story.”
There have been 23,080 tests administered overall in Jackson County since March 18, an increase of 299 from Monday’s report.
The results are as of 11:59 p.m. Monday. The ISDH’s coronavirus dashboard is updated at noon daily.
On Monday, 5,702 additional Hoosiers across the state were diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at Indiana State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and private laboratories.
This brings to 306,538 the total number of Hoosiers known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s total.
Indiana’s total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is 5,169 with 103 new deaths being reported Monday.
This is a record for the amount of COVID-19 related deaths in the state of Indiana in a single-day, and the first time this number has entered triple digits.
For the state, a total of 3,976,683 tests have been administered, an increase of 37,177 from Monday’s reported total.