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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.

Cases: 667736

Reported Deaths: 12744
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion914111660
Lake48769893
Allen36211646
Hamilton32522398
St. Joseph30414514
Elkhart25548420
Vanderburgh21347382
Tippecanoe20259205
Johnson16497363
Porter16097281
Hendricks15967302
Clark12093182
Madison11815323
Vigo11702234
Monroe10445164
Delaware9903179
LaPorte9850201
Howard9134203
Kosciusko8600111
Bartholomew7533147
Hancock7476134
Warrick7459153
Floyd7271173
Wayne6666192
Grant6467158
Boone619591
Morgan6142129
Dubois5947112
Dearborn551770
Cass5493100
Marshall5457105
Henry544495
Noble514078
Jackson465967
Shelby463691
Lawrence4198113
Gibson406185
Harrison404165
Clinton398153
Montgomery392284
DeKalb388478
Miami358563
Knox357886
Whitley352838
Huntington351377
Steuben340656
Putnam335060
Wabash334076
Ripley328263
Adams327049
Jasper319643
White298553
Jefferson296574
Daviess286196
Fayette272956
Decatur271688
Greene263080
Posey261832
Wells259276
Scott252350
LaGrange242670
Clay241644
Randolph226577
Spencer219630
Jennings217044
Washington213527
Sullivan203839
Fountain202942
Starke190251
Owen184454
Fulton180037
Jay178828
Carroll177019
Perry174236
Orange171451
Rush165722
Vermillion161643
Franklin160235
Tipton150341
Parke140216
Pike128633
Blackford120727
Pulaski107844
Newton96932
Brown95340
Benton92613
Crawford92613
Martin80314
Warren76014
Switzerland7568
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0429

COVID-19 Important links and resources

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