Tippecanoe County remained in the orange category on the Indiana State Department of Health’s COVID-19 metrics map Wednesday, as local case counts and testing positivity rates fluctuated in the days following Thanksgiving.
“So although we saw a slight decrease in cases over the holiday weekend, our daily new case numbers are high, and could increase substantially in the next two weeks due to holiday gatherings,” said Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler.
The Indiana State Department of Health added 280 cases to Tippecanoe County’s coronavirus case total in its Monday update, 195 on Tuesday, and 262 on Wednesday. Adler said as of Wednesday morning, contact tracers had linked seven of the new cases to Thanksgiving gatherings.
“So certainly there’s a possibility that that number will increase, and it probably will,” Adler said. “The incubation period for the virus is between two and 14 days, so some people who were exposed over the Thanksgiving holiday may not develop symptoms until later this week, or even next week.”
The seven-day all-tests positivity rate jumped to 9.1% in Wednesday’s update; that rate had dropped to 8.2% Sunday, with ISDH reporting rates of 8.3% and 8.4% Monday and Tuesday. The current TCHD health order places capacity restrictions on various county establishments until that rate remains below 10% for 14 days.
West Lafayette Community School Corporation Superintendent Rocky Killion, present at Wednesday’s weekly coronavirus briefing, said he and other area school superintendents would rely on medical professionals when making decisions about COVID-19 measures in schools.
“If the county should go red, our school leaders have agreed to take a measured approach to determining what should be done, based upon the recommendations of Dr. Adler and his staff,” Killion said. “For instance, if the county goes red, and our schools’ positive case numbers remain low, so long as we have the appropriate staffing, we will continue providing on-site instruction to our students as long as we can safely do so.”
According to health department data provided Wednesday, 451 students, 132 staff members, and 1 student teacher have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Dec. 1, with 5,081 close contacts quarantined.