Indiana details COVID-19 cases in schools with new dashboard

State officials will release to the public a new online tool Wednesday designed to help track coronavirus cases in Indiana schools.

Posted: Oct 1, 2020 8:49 AM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 2:31 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State officials will release to the public a new online tool Wednesday designed to help track coronavirus cases in Indiana schools.

Health officials said the dashboard will reflect the new and cumulative numbers of positive COVID-19 cases among students, teachers and other workers in a given school. An early look at the data during Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s weekly coronavirus briefing Wednesday afternoon reflects at least 2,354 positive COVID-19 cases in schools around the state since the new school year started this fall.

With data submitted from roughly half Indiana's state's schools so far, 742 schools have reported one or more cases, and 617 have reported no cases. Students make up the majority of the reported cases, with 1,676 cases, with another 335 cases reported among the state’s teachers and 343 cases in other staff members.

The full dashboard will be available on the state health department’s website later Wednesday, and data will then be updated each week. Schools reporting fewer than five positive cases will have their data suppressed to protect privacy.

Box said state health officials are still working with schools to get more data submitted and remove duplicate records from the database. Case totals are likely to increase in the coming days as more schools submit their data, Box said. But because the reporting by schools is voluntary, the state dashboard numbers won’t fully capture cases. If school participation becomes an issue, Box has said the state may consider making it mandatory for district leaders to report their data.

The new tracker’s release follows concerns from health experts over sharp increases in COVID-19 cases among Indiana’s younger population groups.

Earlier this month, Box said the state has seen a “steady increase” in the percentage of total cases among children throughout the pandemic. Although cases among K-12 have remained relatively stable since late July, she said almost 19% of new COVID-19 cases are among high school students. The majority of student cases being reported so far are occurring within high school students, followed by middle school students elementary-aged kids.

Still, Box emphasized Wednesday that the percentage of students who are quarantined or sick within individual school systems or schools “is still a very small percentage' and doubled down on the state's devolution to local school leaders and health departments to determine when the numbers of COVID-19 cases should cause schools to close or modify operations.

“My goal here is to be able to keep schools open in-person so there can be students in the classroom, being taught, not just virtually,” Box said.

As Halloween approaches, Box also advised that trick-or-treating, costume parties, haunted houses, hayrides and other close-contact environments are “high-risk,” urging parents to “get creative” and rethink their holiday activities.

“Every Hoosier needs to be carefully it consider the risk that comes with the activities that you want to participate in,” Box said. “I’m not trying to be the Grinch — or maybe appropriately, the witch — who ruined Halloween, but I don’t want COVID-19 to take that role either."

While no statewide restrictions have been placed on Halloween festivities, Box said Indiana officials are encouraging Hoosiers to follow the fall celebration guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control.

State health officials additionally added 20 more COVID-19 deaths to the state’s pandemic toll Wednesday.

The newly recorded deaths raise the state’s death toll to 3,632, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus cases, since the state’s first such death was reported on March 15, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. That is an increase of 102 deaths in the past week.

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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.

Confirmed Cases: 164581

Reported Deaths: 4143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26055792
Lake14436358
St. Joseph9606168
Elkhart9271138
Allen8647231
Hamilton6400115
Vanderburgh617162
Tippecanoe396715
Porter347550
Hendricks3418134
Monroe335638
Johnson3286130
Delaware311575
Clark306263
Vigo275340
Madison250896
LaPorte239261
Cass229724
Warrick205065
Kosciusko201127
Floyd187468
Howard169466
Bartholomew147958
Marshall147428
Dubois146426
Wayne142031
Grant133539
Henry133030
Boone129150
Hancock124744
Noble122935
Jackson121018
Dearborn103128
Morgan100340
Lawrence96838
Gibson94412
Clinton92416
Daviess92334
Shelby90632
LaGrange82815
Knox81810
Harrison81024
Posey7767
Putnam77616
Fayette76719
DeKalb76011
Jasper6885
Miami6715
Steuben6608
Montgomery63122
White62316
Greene57838
Adams5607
Scott55413
Decatur52839
Ripley4838
Whitley4836
Clay4617
Sullivan45714
Wells45611
Huntington4455
Starke4438
Wabash4439
Orange42425
Spencer4176
Randolph39210
Jennings38713
Washington3873
Franklin38325
Fulton3785
Perry36914
Jefferson3655
Pike35718
Carroll34313
Jay3386
Fountain3293
Tipton28423
Vermillion2721
Parke2564
Rush2464
Blackford2394
Newton23711
Owen2151
Martin2050
Pulaski1783
Crawford1631
Brown1473
Ohio1337
Union1140
Benton1130
Switzerland980
Warren911
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

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