Coming out of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Switzerland County has seen another dramatic jump in the number of positive COVID-19 cases.
Switzerland County Health Officer Dr. Scott Frede, in his weekly update, announced that as of Tuesday morning, January 12, Switzerland County now has a total number of positive COVID cases since March of 2020 of 651.
Of those, Dr. Frede reports that there are currently 73 active cases; and the county has experienced six COVID-related deaths, but none in the past weeks.
After a month of December where Switzerland County saw a total of 259 cases over the 31 days — nearly half of the overall COVID total — it looks like the month of January isn’t starting on a better note.
Since January 1st, the total number of positive COVID cases here has grown by 116 — just over 10 positive cases a day. That percentage puts the county on track to exceed 300 cases in this month alone — so it becomes even more important for residents to follow the guidelines established by the state with regard to wearing masks and socially distancing.
The numbers here mean that Switzerland County remains in the “Red” classification by the Indiana State Board of Health.
The Designation of the county being ‘Red’ means that the county has very high positivity and community spread. When a county is in the Red metric, these requirements remain in effect until the metric has returned to Orange or lower for two weeks.
• Social gatherings of any kind, indoor or outdoor, are limited to 25 people.
• A special, seasonal or commercial event for which more than 25 people will be in attendance, must submit a plan to the local health department at least seven days in advance and receive approval before proceeding.
The total of 535 as of Tuesday, January 11th, shows that Switzerland County has had a rise in the number of positive cases during the past week of 116 cases. Although nothing is certain, this big jump is most likely connected to holiday family gatherings.
Here’s a look at the past month:
• December 15th: 428 positive cases.
• December 22nd: 500 positive cases.
• December 29th: 535 positive cases.
• January 5th: 585 positive cases.
• January 11th: 651 positive cases.
Essentially for the past month (from December 15th to January 11th), the total number of cases here in Switzerland County has grown by 223 — so 34% of the county’s overall cases have been diagnosed in the past month — over 370 of those since December 1st (57%).
In the last week, from Tuesday, January 5th to Tuesday, January 11th, Switzerland County has seen a rise in the number of cases of 66 — 10% of the overall total and 30% of the positive cases during the past 30 days.
Help is, however, possibly on the way.
Dr. Frede reports (see related article included here), that limited supplies of vaccines have now arrived.
“We have a limited quantity of vaccines at this time for our first vaccine clinic as of Wednesday, January 13th,” Dr. Frede reports. “At this time, the vaccine is prioritized for age 80 and up. Please go to ourshot.in.gov to register for an appointment. We expect to get another shipment in the next few days and hope to expand our hours in the coming weeks.”
As has been going on for the past several weeks, Dr. Frede reminds everyone that free, outdoor testing in your own vehicle without a doctor’s order is available at the Switzerland County Medical Building through a partnership with the Switzerland County Health Department, The Indiana State Department of Health and Kings Daughters Health.
The program is for testing only. Ill patients or people who wish to consult with their healthcare provider should call their healthcare provider as usual. There is signage indicating directions.
The hours of free testing are” Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the first and third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. until noon.
Those wishing to be tested are asked to register through https://scheduling.coronavirus.in.gov or call (812) 801-8707 for instructions.
And, since last March, Dr. Frede’s message to the community has remained steady:
“Mask up, Wash up, keep your distance,” Dr. Frede reminds everyone. “If you or your family are ill, do not send your kids to school and stay home from work.”