It’s official — COVID is back with a vengeance.
As of Tuesday morning, January 18th, the Indiana State Department of Health shows every single one of Indiana’s 92 counties as ‘Red’ — the highest rate a county can have.
According to Dr. Scott Frede, Switzerland County Medical Officer, as of Tuesday, January 18th, there have been 309 positive cases here in January — an average of just over 17 positive cases each day.
The 309 cases to date is also the highest monthly number in the past year:
• January, 2021: 194 cases (6.26 per day)
• February, 2021: 54 cases (1.93 per day)
• March, 2021: 12 cases (0.4 per day)
• April, 2021: 15 cases (0.5 per day)
• May, 2021: 26 cases (0.8 per day)
• June, 2021: 16 cases (0.5 per day)
• July, 2021: 33 cases (1.06 per day)
• August, 2021: 290 cases (9.66 per day)
• September, 2021: 243 cases (8.1 per day)
• October, 2021: 70 cases (2.25 per day)
• November, 2021: 92 cases (3.06 per day)
• December, 2021: 200 cases (6.45 per day)
With January already seeing 309 cases over the first 18 days, if you take the average of 17 cases per day and expand that to the entire month, Switzerland County would see a total of 527 cases over the 31 days.
To put that into perspective, the county had 1,209 positive cases in all of 2021 — so the county would be almost halfway to the yearly total after just one month.
Not only that, but Dr. Frede warns that the 309 number only accounts for Switzerland County residents who received a COVID test in the State of Indiana. County residents who may have tested positive in Kentucky or Ohio are not included, so the true number of positive cases here could be even higher. Also not counted are the people who are purchasing home testing kits.
January of 2022 is already the highest number of positive cases here since the pandemic began in March of 2020 — and the month has more than a week to go.
Dr. Frede said that it is important for everyone to know that just because you’ve had the virus once; or just because you’ve been vaccinated, doesn’t mean that you are completely immune to getting the virus again. Everyone needs to remain vigilant in keeping social distance, wearing masks where appropriate, and maintaining personal hygiene such as hand washing.
As the number of cases continues to rise, the county and all other parts of the country are continuing to adapt to changes in COVID testing.
At the beginning of January, Switzerland County Health Department Administrator Carly Archers announced that, because of an increase in the number of rapid tests for the COVID-19 virus, the Indiana State Department of Health has joined other states in restricting who can receive the rapid antigen tests here in Switzerland County and around the nation.
At that time, the Indiana State Department of Health — in response to the shortage of the tests — has announced restrictions on who can receive the rapid antigen test.
As of now, the only people eligible to receive a rapid antigen test from a state or county health facility are those people:
• Age 18 and younger; and/or
• Age 50 and older who are symptomatic.
Those not meeting either or those standards may still receive a PCR test at the Switzerland County Health Department. The results of those tests are available in approximately 48 to 72 hours.
Archer also said that the courier who takes the tests to the lab leaves the Switzerland County Health Department each day at 2 p.m. — so those getting the PCR test after 2 p.m. won’t see those results for a longer period of time because the test won’t leave the facility until the next day.
Archer also said that those wanting to receive a test — either the antigen rapid test or the PCR test — needs to make an appointment at the health department. An appointment may be made either by calling the health department at (812) 427-3220 or online. Walk in testing is not available.
Dr. Frede said that new vaccinations and boosters (six months after second Pfizer or Moderna and two months after Johnson&Johnson vaccine) are available and The Switzerland County Health Department; and they are available Monday through Friday. Free testing is still available at the Health Department.
To schedule a vaccine or test:
• switzerland-county.com and scroll down to “Health”
• Call (812) 427-3220.