County has second COVID-19 death

By Joseph Slacian

Wabash County suffered its second COVID-19 related death over the weekend.

The death was announced Sunday afternoon by Keith Walters, Executive Director of the Wabash County Homeland Security Agency and chair of the Wabash County Health Board.

According to the data provided by the Indiana State Department of Health on Monday afternoon, the county has 63 positive cases. There have been 236 total tests done.

Walters noted that no further details on patients or positive COVID-19 cases will be released due to privacy concerns.

One reason for the jump is that 46 employees at the Peabody Retirement Community tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating at home. Some of those workers may life in Wabash County, causing the number to increase. (Cases are reported in the person’s home county, not county of employment.)

Peabody Executive Director Rod Craft, in a press release last week, said the facility is taking a “proactive approach” which includes “following all local, regional and national guidelines, including those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”

The facility, he continued, was to begin voluntarily test all residents.

The most recent death in Wabash County comes on the heels of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s announcement on Friday of the Back On Track Indiana plan to safely open the economy and remain vigilant about protecting Hoosiers’ health and wellbeing.

“Across Indiana, we have witnessed a spirit of cooperation and caring for others that has touched my heart. May this spirit of appreciation for one another carry on long after the scourge of COVID-19 is behind us,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Hoosiers have done this together and together we will come out a stronger Indiana.”

Gov. Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March and he will continue to do so as the state contemplates a sector-by-sector reset. The state will move to reopen while continuing to monitor and respond to these four guiding principles:

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 days

The state retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators

The state retains its ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders, and frontline employees

Health officials have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracing

As we lift restrictions and more people return to work, visit a store or restaurant, and participate in more activities, the number of COVID-19 cases will increase. If we cannot meet these principles, all or portions of the state may need to pause on moving forward or we may return to an earlier phase of the governor’s stay-at-home order.

Indiana Back On Track has five stages. Beginning Monday, May 4, nearly all of Indiana will move to stage 2. For three counties – Cass, Lake and Marion counties – stage 2 will begin at a later date. Phase 2 may begin on Monday, May 11 for Lake and Marion counties. Phase 2 may begin on Monday, May 18 for Cass County. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.

In Stage 2 to protect the most vulnerable to COVID-19, Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should remain at home.
Essential travel restrictions will be lifted, and social gatherings of up to 25 people will be permitted following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.

The remaining manufacturers, industrial and other infrastructure operations that had not been considered essential may open. Hoosiers who can work from home are encouraged to continue to do so.

Retail and commercial businesses may open at 50% capacity. Examples include apparel, furniture, jewelry and liquor stores that have been operating as curbside or delivery only. Shopping malls can open at 50% capacity with indoor common areas restricted to 25% capacity.

Restaurants and bars that serve food may open starting May 11 at 50% capacity, but bar seating will remain closed.

Personal services such as hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors also may open on May 11 by appointment only and must follow social distancing guidelines.

Starting May 8th, for all of the state’s counties, indoor worship services may also convene, following specific social distancing guidelines – while those 65 and older and those at elevated risk will be asked to stay home.

Posted on 2020 May 05