Second Tippecanoe County COVID-19 Death Reported; Later County Case Surge Expected

Apr 15, 2020


Downtown Lafayette on the evening of March 23, 2020, one day before the start of Gov. Eric Holcomb's ongoing "Stay-At-Home" order.
Credit Emilie Syberg / WBAA

Tippecanoe County’s COVID-19 case surge has shifted from mid-April to early May, and officials are starting to consider how --and how soon-- residents, businesses, and local government could return to normal.

The county also reported its second death from COVID-19 Tuesday; the resident was an elderly person who was under hospice care.  Confirmed county cases of the novel coronavirus stood at 46 Wednesday, while statewide case totals rose to 8,955. The Indiana State Department of Health also reported 436 deaths. 

Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler said as local officials examined how to re-open communities, they would continue to be guided by the directives issued by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

“The process of opening -- re-opening our communities and getting back to our normal lives is going to be a longer process,” Adler said. “It’s going to be done very carefully.”

Adler said a slow re-opening could help prevent a second or third wave of COVID-19 cases. 

“Take things one day at a time, and see how this all unfolds,” Adler said.

Adler also said he arrived at his just-announced order canceling or postponing larger county events through June 30 after considering data about the course and spread of COVID-19.

“And I asked myself: ‘Is it realistic to think that we could safely hold large community events involving hundreds or thousands of people in May or June?’” Adler said. “And the answer to that question is, unfortunately, no. It would not be safe. The risk would simply be too high.”

Adler said a planned system for reporting suspected cases of COVID-19 was launched on Monday, but none have been reported thus far -- though he expects that to change as more possible cases emerge.