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.
The state of COVID-19 throughout Indiana is looking—tentatively—better. While the Indiana State
Department of Health’s county metrics map last week showed that nearly all counties were red, this week the map indicates that a majority of Indiana counties are orange, including Delaware County; one county (Jay) is now yellow. At the local level, two new COVID-19 vaccination sites have opened in Delaware County: Open Door Health Services and Meridian Health Services. All vaccinations must be scheduled in advance by visiting ourshot.in.gov or calling 211. More information on local vaccine distribution and locations can be found at OurShotDelawareCounty.org.
Open Door is administering Moderna vaccines inside its Madison Street location by appointment only. The clinic is currently open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Meridian offers a drive-thru vaccine clinic at the Suzanne Gresham Center on White River Boulevard. The drive-thru clinic is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. by appointment only. Meridian is also administering the Moderna vaccine.
Individuals can still get vaccinated at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, which offers both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, or at the Delaware County Health Department, which offers the Moderna vaccine. In Indiana, vaccinations are currently only open to those who are age 70 and older, healthcare workers, and first responders.
Rebecca Phipps, a registered nurse at IU Health Ball Memorial’s emergency department who has received the vaccine, said the vaccination process is simple and even “wonderful.”
“From the ease of scheduling, to the seamless process upon arrival to my vaccine appointment and discharge after 15-minute observation, the experience was wonderful,” she said.
IU Health Ball’s COVID-19 clinic has, as of Jan. 18, administered a vaccine to 6,337 individuals. Of those, 1,668 have received the full two doses of the vaccine. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, spaced three or four weeks apart, respectively.
Whether or not you have received the vaccine, it is important to still wear a face mask and practice social distancing and good hygiene.
“Your body begins to build immunity after the injection, so it can take a few weeks to reach full effectiveness,” the IU Health website says on the COVID-19 Vaccine page of its website. “We also don’t know how long the immunity from this vaccine lasts. Therefore, these measures [of wearing a mask and social distancing] should continue to be taken until we have more information about this and until the majority of the population is vaccinated.”
Since the last county-wide COVID-19 update on Jan. 14, Delaware County has reported 417 new cases and 5 new deaths. The 7-day positivity rate is at 8.3%; the CDC suggests this number should be well under 5%. As of Jan. 20, IU Health Ball is treating 34 confirmed cases, 20 of which are Delaware County residents.
For those who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, health officials encourage the continuation of diligent testing and contact tracing.
Meridian Health Services offers free rapid and PCR (or “standard”) tests. Open Door also offers free tests throughout the community at various partner sites, including the Buley Center, Boys & Girls Clubs, Avondale UMC, and Housing Authority communities. To learn more about testing locations in Delaware County, visit dcema.org.
Ball State University resumed classes this week, following an extended winter break from the week of Thanksgiving until Jan. 18. Students were required to submit COVID-19 test results to the university between Jan. 8 and 19 before returning to campus; of the 10,960 tests submitted during this time, 288 were positive.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get vaccinated for COVID-19?
As of Jan. 11, Indiana residents age 70 and older, as well as healthcare workers, are eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. There is no charge for the vaccination.
Individuals can schedule online or by phone. To schedule online:
- Visit IN.gov and follow the instructions to find a vaccine site.
- The site will ask questions to make sure you meet criteria.
- A map will display vaccination sites closest to you.
- Choose a site and register for a date and time.
To schedule by phone:
- For those unable to register online, call 211 to register by phone. The call center is open daily from 8 a.m.–9p.m.
Other notes of importance:
- Registering another individual on their behalf is permitted.
- Transportation assistance can be requested by calling 211.
- Citizenship is not required for vaccination, and citizenship information is not collected.
- Photo ID may be required at the time of vaccination.
Local vaccination information can be found at OurShotDelawareCounty.org.
How will I know when I become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?
Those who are eligible for the vaccine will be notified via postal mail from the state, as well as through additional communications efforts. Eligibility information will also be shared online at ourshot.IN.gov as updates become available.
Will vaccines allow an immediate return to normal? What should people expect over the next few months?
We should not expect a significant impact from the vaccines anytime soon. The vaccine supply will arrive in phases and is expected to be very limited in quantity initially.
I got tested for COVID-19. Now what?
Individuals who get tested because they have symptoms should quarantine after their test until they receive their results. If the test is positive, they must continue to isolate. Isolation can end after ALL of the following have occurred:
- 10 days have passed since onset of symptoms
- If fever was a symptom, 24 hours have passed with no fever, without use of fever-reducing drugs
- Other symptoms are improving (however, loss of taste/smell may persist and does not to be factored into this requirement)
However, a person who has tested positive should follow their healthcare provider’s advice on when to end isolation.
The official recommendation for quarantine of someone identified as a close contact remains at 14 days. The CDC has recently announced options for shortening this timeframe to 10 or even possibly 7 days, if certain criteria are met. We suggest these options only be considered for use by individuals who would fall under the CDC guidelines for “Critical Infrastructure.” Employers retain the ability to, and are recommended to, require 14-day quarantine of any potentially exposed staff members. The 7- and 10-day options, in summary:
- Quarantine can end after day 10 without testing and if NO symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
- When testing is readily available, quarantine can end as early as day 7 with a negative test result;
HOWEVER, the test can be conducted no earlier than day 5 of the quarantine period.
In either situation, after stopping quarantine, people should:
- Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
- If they have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact their local public health authority or healthcare provider, as well as their employer if necessary.
- Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash their hands, and avoid crowds.
Again, the standing recommendation for quarantine of close contacts remains at 14 days.
For more information, please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine or cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.
What is a “close contact”?
The CDC definition of “close contact” includes the following:
- You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more, with or without masks. (This is 15 total minutes over the course of 24 hours. E.g., three five-minute periods of time throughout one day would count as close contact, )
- You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them).
- You shared eating or drinking utensils.
- They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.
Should I/my child get tested for COVID-19 even if only mild cold-like symptoms, like a runny nose, are present?
Anyone experiencing symptoms of illness should isolate at home to avoid the risk of spreading illness to others. With the improved availability of testing, DCHD would further recommend testing to any such individual. Additional information concerning when you can return to work and what to do if your test is positive is available for review at cdc.gov.
If I test positive for COVID-19, how should close contacts be informed?
Anyone who tests positive should proactively seek to notify anyone they have had close contact with, as far back as 48 hours before their symptom onset. Positive individuals should also cooperate with any contact tracing calls they receive from the State, so that state contact tracers can also document and notify close contacts of their need to quarantine.
What should I do if I witness a business and/or citizen failing to comply with guidelines from the state or county?
Complaints can be lodged through the Delaware County Health Department Citizen Complaint Form, most easily available through the Delaware County Coronavirus Hub at dcema.org.
Will getting a flu shot protect me from COVID-19?
While some evidence exists that the flu vaccine may help with protection against COVID-19, this vaccine should not be considered a protection against COVID-19. Instead, protection against influenza infection may prove beneficial to the population by lowering the number of flu illnesses overall and freeing up space in the healthcare system for those infected with COVID-19 or needing other healthcare.
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.
Families with children in school can find additional information and resources at educationsupporthub.com.
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. Families with children in school can find additional information and resources at educationsupporthub.com.
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. Those who wish to get tested are required to register online in advance at opendoorhs.org/testing.
Open Door also provides neighborhood-based testing at community partner sites. Partner sites currently include Avondale United Methodist Church, the Buley Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie, two Housing Authority communities, and Ball State University. Visit www.opendoorhs.org/testing for more information. Pre-registration at partner sites is not required.
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 and 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.
Under state mandate, gatherings in Delaware County are currently limited to no more than 50 people. Events with more than 50 attendees will not be approved by the Delaware County Health Department.