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.
Muncie, IN—Last week, the Indiana State Department of Health reduced Delaware County’s COVID-19 ranking from “orange” to “yellow,” indicating that the county’s COVID numbers are improving. Local health officials expect the county to remain in the yellow category in the state’s next update to the dashboard on Sept. 30.
“The orange status was expected due to the arrival of Ball State University students and the abrupt increase in testing among a population that was previously not seeking or receiving testing. The same was seen in other college towns,” said Jammie Bane, administrator of the Delaware County Health Department. “The current yellow status is a more accurate reflection of what we’re seeing community-wide.”
However, Bane cautioned that people may interpret this forward momentum as a sign to be more careless in their precautions. This concern is especially evident with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s announcement last week that Indiana will be proceeding with Stage 5 of the state’s Back on Track plan.
“The Governor’s movement into Stage 5 is not a declaration of life returning to normal; it’s simply another step toward eventually getting there,” Bane said. “Caution is still needed statewide, not just in Delaware County.”
As of print, Delaware County has reported 129 new positive cases of COVID-19 and 1 new death since Sept. 22. The county’s 7-day positivity rate is at 4%, which is down 1.9 percentage points from the previous week; the CDC suggests that this number should be well under 5% for at least 14 days. IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital is treating 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 24 of which are Delaware County residents. Twenty-two of the 24 Delaware County patients are over the age of 60.
The Delaware County Health Department explained that additional positive cases may be present at Ball State University, as positive case reports are assigned based on one’s permanent county of residence.
The university, though, is continuing to see a dramatic decrease in the number of active cases on campus. According to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are just 24 active cases among students and staff.
Despite these decreasing numbers, administrators are continuing to implement precautionary guidelines. On Sept. 18, the Board of Trustees approved an adjusted Spring 2021 academic calendar, including the elimination of Spring Break. BSU President Geoffrey S. Mearns spoke with WLBC’s Steve Lindell last week to further discuss this decision, as well as additional measures the university is taking to reduce the spread of the virus.
The university has partnered with IU Health to test students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19. It has also partnered with Open Door Health Services to offer on-site testing at Worthen Arena for those who are asymptomatic.
Open Door also offers these tests for the community, made available through a partnership with the Delaware County Health Department. The tests—available to those with or without symptoms—are of no cost to the individual, but insurance will be billed if applicable. Those who wish to get tested must register online in advance at opendoorhs.org/testing.
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 250 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 250 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. 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.
Open Door is also offering on-site testing. If you would like to have on-site testing at your organization or event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.