Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler says he hopes additional COVID-19 restrictions won’t be necessary in the coming days, but decisions about new guidelines will be made after looking at a range of data on a day-to-day basis.
“What we look at is not just the number of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases,” Adler says. “We also look at the percentage of COVID-19 tests that are positive.”
Adler says while about 18 percent of the tests conducted for COVID-19 statewide are positive, that number in Tippecanoe County -- as of today -- is about 7 percent.
“We also look at the number of hospitalizations -- hospital admissions -- for COVID-19, the number of intensive care unit admissions for COVID-19, the number of emergency department visits for respiratory illnesses, and the number of deaths for COVID-19,” Adler says.
The Indiana State Department of Health reported 197 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tippecanoe County Wednesday. Adler says about 60 of those cases are employees at the Indiana Packers Corporation in Delphi, where staff members underwent testing last week. A supplemental living facility in Lafayette has 14 positive cases; Adler says there are no confirmed cases at any long-term care facilities in the county.
Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski also says a second city employee tested posItive for COVID-19.
IU Health Arnett Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Bien says the hospital currently has about 10 positive cases. Dr. Dan Wickert, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health Lafayette, says Franciscan Health Lafayette has 16.
Bien says there are concerns the surge will continue to grow, placing more pressure on hospital resources, but currently the hospital remains in phase two of a five-stage surge plan.
“At the fifth stage, we would be taking atypical space in the hospital -- a lot of it -- and turning it into in-patient care space,” Bien said. “We hope we never get there. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, we are well within what we have planned to address.”
Free COVID-19 testing through the Indiana State Department of Health also started Wednesday at two sites in Lafayette. At Lafayette’s National Guard Armory, symptomatic people and close contacts of COVID-19 cases can access testing, while tests at Lafayette Jefferson High School will be conducted for symptomatic health care workers, first responders, essential workers, and people in higher-risk categories through May 9. Adler says over 4,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the county.
Adler also amended an earlier health department order on community events to align with the governor’s plan; among other updates, fairs, festivals, and sporting events are now permitted to take place beginning July 4.