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2 Indiana college counties listed as moderate virus risk

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MGN Image, MGN Graphics

The counties that include Indiana and Ball State universities are listed as the highest-risk locations for coronavirus infections on the state health department’s updated county-by-county map released Wednesday.

Posted: Sep 17, 2020 8:22 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The counties that include Indiana and Ball State universities are listed as the highest-risk locations for coronavirus infections on the state health department’s updated county-by-county map released Wednesday.

Monroe County, which includes the main Indiana University campus in Bloomington, and Delaware County, which includes Ball State in Muncie, are the only two listed with the health department’s orange rating for moderate to high coronavirus spread after seven counties had that rating last week. No counties were listed with the highest-risk red rating in either week.

The remaining 90 counties received yellow or blue ratings based on the number of new cases per 100,000 residents and the percentage of tests confirming COVID-19 infections.

State health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box attributed the ratings for Monroe and Delaware counties to congregate living settings and large-scale university testing within the counties.

Health officials are now “especially concerned” about those aged 18 to 22 years, Box said during a news conference Wednesday. Data show sharp increases in the age group as students have returned to campuses and universities are requiring more extensive testing. Case counts since early August have trended down for all other age groups in the state.

But the spread of COVID-19 among the even younger population is also of growing concern, Box said, given that Indiana has seen a “steady increase” in the percentage of total cases among children throughout the pandemic.

While the majority of COVID-19 cases in Indiana near the beginning of the pandemic were among those over the age of 50, the pendulum has shifted. Now, two-thirds of the state's cases are recorded by those under age 50, and half of all new cases are in those under 30 years old, Box said.

Although cases among K-12 have remained relatively stable since late July, Box said almost 19% of new COVID-19 cases are among high school students. Box said this is likely because teenagers and young adults are less likely to observe social distancing, don’t wear their masks regularly and have larger social bubbles.

“As more schools return in person, we need to pay attention to these data and recognize that peer-to-peer transmission is occurring more frequently in teenagers and young adults,” Box said. “We need our younger Hoosiers to understand that they are not without risk."

Still, state officials said they aren't recording significant numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations among children and young adults.

And while she said it's still “a little bit early” to make decisions about Halloween festivities, Box said she thinks trick-or-treating “can occur safely” in counties and communities where COVID-19 infection rates are low.

“It’s about washing your hands carefully, right? It’s about not letting your kids dig into that pumpkin in that bucket and eat it as they’re walking around unless their hands have been washed,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of safe ways to do it. I don’t think big Halloween parties with lots of kids at one time is a good idea, but we’ll try to come out with some more direction or advice prior to that time.”

Box said the state wants to be able to present preliminary data about COVID-19 cases in schools by Sept. 30. The hope is for K-12 schools to report daily the number of students and staff that have tested positive for the coronavirus, Box added, and her goal is that future updates to county-by-county COVID-19 statistics will specifically designate cases at any colleges within those counties.

___

Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 663511

Reported Deaths: 12633
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion908511647
Lake48510882
Allen35951638
Hamilton32138398
St. Joseph30096513
Elkhart25423417
Vanderburgh21283379
Tippecanoe20096203
Johnson16380360
Porter16009272
Hendricks15855300
Clark11999181
Madison11764319
Vigo11636230
Monroe10363163
Delaware9854179
LaPorte9790197
Howard9075198
Kosciusko8574111
Bartholomew7479147
Warrick7430151
Hancock7418132
Floyd7226170
Wayne6645192
Grant6437157
Boone610389
Morgan6103125
Dubois5923111
Dearborn549068
Cass545899
Marshall5432105
Henry542593
Noble510178
Jackson465167
Shelby461490
Lawrence4189113
Gibson401781
Harrison401064
Clinton396553
Montgomery388483
DeKalb386478
Miami357663
Knox357585
Whitley349837
Huntington346277
Steuben339255
Wabash332376
Putnam331159
Ripley327762
Adams323949
Jasper317043
White297452
Jefferson295474
Daviess285596
Fayette271956
Decatur271088
Greene261680
Posey261431
Wells258575
Scott251250
Clay241544
LaGrange241270
Randolph225576
Spencer218030
Jennings215744
Washington212127
Sullivan203639
Fountain201842
Starke188451
Owen182853
Fulton179337
Jay178328
Carroll176519
Perry173435
Orange171150
Rush165322
Vermillion160842
Franklin159535
Tipton146841
Parke139416
Pike127833
Blackford120727
Pulaski106744
Newton96632
Brown95139
Benton92213
Crawford91013
Martin80214
Warren75814
Switzerland7558
Union67310
Ohio53911
Unassigned0433

COVID-19 Important links and resources

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