Indiana overhauls county virus ratings for school decisions

Indiana’s top health official announced Wednesday an overhaul of a new county-by-county rating system for coronavirus risks just before it was becoming public as a guide for school leaders on whether to keep students in their classrooms.

Posted: Sep 3, 2020 8:18 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s top health official announced Wednesday an overhaul of a new county-by-county rating system for coronavirus risks just before it was becoming public as a guide for school leaders on whether to keep students in their classrooms.

The coronavirus has contributed to the deaths of 13 more people in Indiana, with many of the state’s deaths continuing among nursing home residents, the state health department said.

COUNTY SCORES

The state health department will now assign scores to all 92 counties based on the number of new cases per 100,000 residents and the percentage of tests confirming COVID-19 infections. Those scores then coordinate with a color-coded rating system for the county’s level of community spread and risk.

It’s a change from the state’s unveiling of the system last week, which additionally calculated the week-by-week change in positivity rate at the county level, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said.

Box said the ratings were changed based on feedback received from school leaders in the past week. The new metrics, she said, will be “less volatile” to rapid COVID-19 changes at the community level and more representative of “true community spread” within a county.

“We want these maps to be useful tools, but do not want them to give people a false sense of security when COVID-19 is still very active in their communities,” Box said. “The goal is to provide an easy to understand system that local and school officials can use to inform their decisions.”

Some local school district leaders have been reluctant to embrace the new system, saying countywide statistics might not indicate the coronavirus risk in their communities.

The county ratings provide only recommendations for schools and does not trigger any mandates from the state, Box said. Even in the poorest scoring counties, Box said that the state still does not recommend closing in-person instruction at elementary schools.

“We are trying to give some direction in the form of a map with a color-coded system that’s more basic so that the average person can really look at that and understand the importance of saying to their kids ‘Put that mask back on or you’re not going to have your friends over,’” Box said.

VIRUS DEATHS

Indiana’s newly recorded deaths raise the state’s pandemic death toll to 3,325, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus cases, since Indiana’s first fatality was reported in mid-March, according to the health department. The new deaths occurred between Friday and Tuesday.

The state’s weekly update on nursing home cases added 29 deaths among those residents. That gives the state 1,849 COVID-19 fatalities linked to long-term care facilities, making up nearly 56% of the state’s death toll. Seventeen of those deaths happened in the past week.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110759

Reported Deaths: 3503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20645758
Lake10172317
Elkhart6321108
St. Joseph600797
Allen5921200
Hamilton4646109
Vanderburgh327129
Hendricks2638121
Monroe236836
Johnson2250122
Tippecanoe218413
Clark210156
Porter203344
Cass19279
Delaware184261
Vigo175722
Madison156575
LaPorte135637
Floyd130061
Howard127063
Kosciusko118717
Bartholomew114557
Warrick111935
Marshall98024
Boone94446
Dubois94018
Hancock90042
Noble87632
Grant86733
Henry75424
Wayne73714
Jackson7319
Morgan69438
Shelby66329
Daviess63927
LaGrange62911
Dearborn62128
Clinton59112
Harrison55624
Putnam5209
Montgomery50221
Lawrence50028
White47814
Knox4769
Gibson4644
Decatur45339
DeKalb44211
Miami4223
Fayette41713
Greene41535
Jasper3802
Steuben3647
Scott35310
Sullivan32812
Jennings30812
Posey2940
Franklin29325
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll26913
Wabash2608
Washington2571
Starke2487
Wells2472
Whitley2476
Adams2403
Jefferson2403
Fulton2302
Huntington2173
Spencer2154
Tipton21522
Randolph2067
Perry20213
Newton17011
Jay1680
Owen1641
Martin1590
Rush1494
Pike1361
Vermillion1250
Fountain1152
Blackford1142
Pulaski1131
Crawford1020
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

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