TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Tippecanoe County Public Health Officer Jeremy Adler said he's not aware of any complete recoveries in the county's 38 positive coronavirus patients so far. Ten of those cases are hospitalized, with two on ventilators.
Adler and other county leaders held the first of what will be weekly news conferences Wednesday to provide updates on the local pandemic response.
He said Indiana's "surge" is expected to occur on April 16, with Tippecanoe County's on that date or shortly after. Top doctors at IU Health and Franciscan Health say they believe they're ready.
"From a space perspective, rooms as well as ventilators and personal protective equipment, IU Health is in good stead," said Dr. James Bein, Chief Medical Officer at IU Health Arnett. "We have right now only a few patients on ventilators and we have the capacity for 30 or more ventilators."
"I would agree," said Dr. Daniel Wickert, Chief Medical Officer at Franciscan Health. "We have tried to increase our intensive care unit beds. We've re-adapted some of our rooms that are being made into ICU rooms. So we've added about 12-14 more ICU rooms if need be."
Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski also announced that a city employee has tested positive for coronavirus. He would not say what department that person works in, but said they are isolating and recovering at home.
"I think it is remarkable when you consider the size of our police department, the size of our fire department and the fact that our sanitation department makes 25,000 stops in one week," said Roswarski. "There are some extraordinary measures taking place."
Roswarski also thanked the community, saying there were many good things happening including people making masks and donating food and funds.
"There's an unbelievable amount of good will," said Roswarski.
With Easter Sunday this weekend, Dr. Adler again stressed the importance of social distancing, and reminded people that in-person church services are prohibited. The health department has guidelines for drive-in services as well.
"Sick individuals, and individuals that are high-risk, should stay home," said Adler. "No one would be permitted to leave their vehicle and vehicle windows should remain closed for the duration of the service. There should be no restroom availability. There can be no communion or distribution of wine or juice and no collection baskets."
Adler also cautioned about a new blood antibody test that has become available locally. He says it has limitations and people should not rely on its results, and the test is not endorsed by the county health department.
The department also announced it would start counting suspected COVID-19 cases. It's unclear how, or if, these numbers will be publically reported.