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.
Muncie, IN—On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Indiana once again set a new record for its daily positive cases, with newly reported cases totaling 5,135 throughout the state. According to the Indiana State Department of Health’s county metrics map, all but five counties in the state are labeled “orange” or “red” for COVID-19, including Delaware County, which has ranked maintained a ranking of orange for the past few weeks now.
With cases steadily rising, Governor Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that Indiana would no longer be in Stage 5 of the state’s Back on Track plan. In fact, Gov. Holcomb has omitted the Back on Track plan altogether, instead moving toward a county-specific approach for precautions and health guidelines. According to these new guidelines, which will take effect Nov. 15, county restrictions will be dependent on each county’s color-coded ranking on the state’s county metrics map.
For orange counties, including Delaware County, restrictions include limiting gatherings to 50 people or fewer and capping K–12 events at 25%. Masks and social distancing will remain required statewide.
As of Nov. 12, Delaware County has reported 352 new cases and 8 new deaths since the last COVID-19 report 7 days ago. The county’s 7-day positivity rate comes in at 9.2%; the CDC suggests this number should be well under 5%. As of Nov. 12, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital is treating 53 confirmed cases, 33 of which are Delaware County residents.
Several schools across the county continue to see positive cases amongst their students and staff. As of Nov. 10, Muncie Community Schools has 12 active cases district-wide with 70 people in quarantine, and Ball State University has 71 active cases. The university’s number of active cases had steadily remained under 50 for at least the past 6 weeks; the slight jump in cases seen this week could be attributed to Halloween gatherings, health officials say.
“Cases continue to rise and hospitalizations are increasing. The situation is very serious right now. It is more important than ever to limit social gatherings, wear a mask and social distance,” said Delaware County Health Officer Donna Wilkins, MD. “If you get a test done under the belief you may be ill, you need to quarantine until you receive the results. If your test is positive, I am asking you to please let your close contacts know that you are positive so they can take appropriate measures to quarantine and watch for symptoms.”
Jammie Bane, administrator of the Delaware County Health Department, said some people may be letting their guard down, especially with news of a hopeful vaccine breaking this week.
“The recent announcements concerning potential success with a COVID vaccine are promising, but at this stage we can’t rely on the arrival of the vaccine to save the day,” Bane said. “Plans are underway for the administration of a vaccine if and when one is made available, but during this critical time our citizens should continue to take the necessary steps within their power to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
The increase in cases—both at the county and state level—has health officials concerned, especially with the upcoming holidays. Earlier this week, the CDC released new recommended guidelines for Thanksgiving, encouraging citizens to wear masks, to dine outdoors if possible, and to avoid traveling, among other things.
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.