Editor’s note: The following COVID-19 update is brought to you through a collaboration of healthcare partners including Delaware County Health Department, Delaware County Emergency Management Agency, Delaware County Office of Information, and other major healthcare providers. Delaware County weekly COVID-19 updates are released every Thursday and include information from the Indiana State Department of Health county metrics dashboard, which is updated every Wednesday afternoon.
Delaware County is still exhibiting a “moderate to high spread” of COVID-19 according to the Indiana State Department of Health’s county metrics map. As of Oct. 29, Delaware County had reported 331 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 new deaths since the last report seven days ago. These numbers bring the county’s 7-day positivity rate to 9.4%; the CDC suggests this number should be well under 5%.
As of Oct. 29, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital is treating 52 confirmed cases, 30 of which are Delaware County residents.
“With the temperature dropping and people opting to spend more time indoors, the risk of infection increases,” said Dr. Jeff Bird, president of IU Health East Central Region. “It’s been proven that the COVID-19 virus lives longer in colder, dryer conditions, so that is why we are continuing to urge people to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands regularly in order to safely minimize their risk of contracting this virus.”
In addition to the cooler temperatures, upcoming holidays pose a risk for greater spread. Health officials are continuing to urge caution as we head into Halloween weekend.
“In general, we caution against participation in or hosting of any Halloween gatherings that could result in prolonged or close exposure to large groups,” the Delaware County Health Department said in a press release last month. “These include but are not limited to traditional parades, indoor Halloween parties, indoor haunted houses, and large hayrides or bonfire activities.”
The Delaware County Health Department also suggests the following guidelines for anyone choosing to participate in traditional trick-or-treating events:
If distributing candy to trick-or-treaters:
• As always, hand out only individually wrapped candies.
• Select and hand out candy yourself, as opposed to offering a bowl for rummaging and selection; or have candy pre-set in individual small dixie cups for children to take.
• Practice proper hand hygiene.
• Wear a mask.
• Remain present outdoors to minimize your door or doorbell serving as a touch surface for trick-or-treaters.
If you will be taking your children trick-or-treating:
• As always, visit trusted homes and only those clearly participating in candy distribution.
• Inspect all candy.
• Wear a mask; where applicable, find ways to incorporate a cloth mask into costumes of older children.
• Do not allow children to eat candy prior to returning home to wash hands.
• Carry and use hand sanitizer often.
• Avoid crowding, and respect the space of other trick-or-treaters when approaching homes or traversing neighborhoods.
In an effort to reduce post-holiday spikes in COVID-19, Ball State University will be moving all classroom instruction online after Thanksgiving for the remainder of the fall semester.
As of Oct. 29, the university has 46 active cases of the virus amongst its students and staff, according to its COVID-19 dashboard.
For more information on Delaware County’s COVID-19 total cases and deaths, as well as testing location information, visit dcema.com.
Staying Safe from COVID-19
To keep yourself safe from COVID-19 and to reduce the spread of the disease, wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, wear a mask when inside public spaces or when in crowded areas, and practice social distancing.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who tested positive, schedule an appointment to get tested as soon as possible. Self-quarantine until you have received negative test results. A list of testing locations can be found on the Delaware County Indiana Coronavirus hub.
Events with more than 500 attendees are required by the state government to be approved by the local health department. If you plan to host an event that may exceed 500 attendees, please contact the Delaware County Health Department at 765-747-7721.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People who have COVID-19 may exhibit any range of these symptoms, and some may even show no symptoms at all. Symptoms may appear 2–14 days after being exposed to the virus. Some symptoms of COVID-19 include:
• Fever or chills
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Muscle or body aches
• New loss of taste or smell
• Sore throat
• Congestion or runny nose
• Nausea or vomiting
Anyone with these symptoms should stay home as much as possible and limit their exposure to others. Children who have any of the above symptoms should be kept home from school. For more information, read the Indiana State Department of Health’s guidelines for returning to school here.
What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19?
If you have any of the above symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should immediately begin to self-quarantine to prevent spreading the disease to others. You should also call a local health clinic to arrange to be tested. Follow your doctor’s orders and continue to self-quarantine until you receive negative test results.
Children who exhibit any of the above symptoms should NOT be sent to school. If your child shows any of the listed symptoms, keep the child home in quarantine and contact your healthcare provider for further guidance.
Where can I get tested?
Several local health clinics offer COVID-19 tests, including Meridian Health Services, Open Door Health Services, and more.
Open Door offers free community tests for individuals with or without symptoms, made available through a partnership with the Delaware County Health Department. (Insurance will billed if applicable.) Those who wish to get tested must register online in advance at opendoorhs.org/testing.
For a complete list of testing locations in Delaware County, visit the Delaware County Indiana Coronavirus Hub. Be advised that some locations may test only those who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.