The Indiana State Department of Health moved Tippecanoe County into the orange level of the agency’s color-coded COVID-19 map Wednesday, reflecting rising case rates and increased community spread of the virus.
As a Tippecanoe County Health Department order limiting gathering sizes to 100 people -- and advising mask-wearing and social distancing at gatherings of any size -- took effect Wednesday, Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler had a direct message for residents.
“For those of you who have been wearing your face coverings, practicing social distancing, and doing all of the preventative measures that we have been discussing: thank you,” Adler said. “We truly appreciate your efforts. For those of you who may not be doing such things: please strive to do better. These measures help protect yourself, your family and friends, and the community.”
ISDH reported 128 cases of COVID-19 for Tippecanoe County in its Wednesday update, the fourth day in the past week cases have topped 100. The county case total Wednesday stood at 4,816. Adler said the uptick was not being driven by clusters of cases.
“Of note -- the proportion of our cases that are attributable to Purdue has been decreasing,” Adler said. “And so we’re seeing a higher proportion of cases outside of the Purdue University community.”
Adler also said COVID-19 hospitalizations had increased significantly.
“Currently 46 as a peak number in the hospital, with 14 in the intensive care unit and/or on ventilators,” Adler said.
IU Health Arnett Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Bien said that increase means area hospitals are under “extreme pressure” to supply enough in-patient beds, with facilities at or near capacity -- and that patients were being sent to IU branches in Frankfort and Monticello who might otherwise have been treated in Lafayette.
“We are starting to use, I would say, atypical spaces in the hospital to find ways to care for more patients and ease our back-up challenges in the emergency department,” Bien said. “That’s a new challenge for us that we’re experiencing on an almost daily basis now.”
ISDH added 3,756 COVID-19 cases to Indiana’s total Wednesday -- a new one-day statewide record.