A Warrick County resident passed away as a result of COVID-19 last weekend marking Warrick County’s first death as a result of the virus since May.

Warrick County Health Department Director Aaron Franz said the individual did have comorbidities and was in an at-risk age group. Ultimately, he said the unfortunate death is uncharacteristic of the current wave of cases.

Franz said this current wave of the virus is different in that it is appearing in more people, but is not presenting as many problematic symptoms as was seen early in the pandemic. He said it is a possibility that an increase in tests is causing a rise in known cases, but he is also seeing that there are seemingly fewer people looking to be tested locally.

Out of a population of nearly 63,000 people, less than 7,500 Warrick County residents have been tested as of Monday, Aug. 3, and only 271 individuals were known to be under quarantine protocol making the number of Warrick County residents known to have the virus throughout the pandemic more than 500. Franz said the overall number of residents with the case represented only 0.35% of the county’s population.

“This is a real virus,” he said. “It’s just hard to say. It’s tracking differently.”

Holcomb announces state to remain in current stage of Back on TrackGovernor Eric J. Holcomb announced last week that the state will remain in Stage 4.5 of the Back On Track Indiana plan until Aug. 27.

“This virus will take what we give it, so it is incumbent upon us to be on our best behavior, practicing physical distancing, good hygiene, and masking up,” Holcomb said.

According to a release from the governor, Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March and he continues to do so. The release states that the state will continue 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

In addition, the release states that the executive order also extends the moratorium on evictions from rental properties and the prohibition on filing foreclosures through Aug. 14.

According to the release, following consultation with the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the mandatory mask order for schools has been modified to allow students to remove masks for classroom instruction when they are able to maintain at least three to six feet of distance between students.

The state government capital complex will begin to open to the public on Aug. 17. Hoosiers who need assistance may continue to schedule appointments with agencies in Indianapolis and throughout the state. Many offices, such as the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, are open without an appointment needed.

The Governor also signed an executive order extending the public health emergency an additional 30 days. Details and guidance will be updated at BackOnTrack.in.gov.

Commissioners approve quote for mobile morgue

The Warrick County Commissioner approved a quote for the purchase of a mobile morgue in their regular meeting on Monday, July 27.

Warrick County Attorney Todd Glass said the $42,500 20-body mobile morgue trailer will be entirely funded through the CARES Act. Plus, he said the interest for the 60 day loan could also be covered.

The purchase comes on the heels of a discussion in the July Warrick County Council meeting about establishing body storage for the Warrick County Coroner’s Office. Warrick County Coroner Sarah Seaton said the county has no functioning body storage leaving her to house individuals in Vanderbugh County for $100 each time.

However, Seaton told the council a two-body cooler was donated to the office several years ago, but is not working. She asked for an additional appropriation to cover the cost to repair the cooler so it could be functional.

“When we faced the COVID situation and we were encouraged to find extra,” she said.

Seaton said the pandemic is a concern and establishing storage for the office will help cut costs regardless, but the mobile morgue is more than is needed.

Ultimately, some council members wanted to get more information about the potential to have the stationary storage also covered in funds available through the CARES Act or other avenues available to help relieve costs incurred as a result of the pandemic.

“I’d just like some information. If we can buy this new and end up getting reimbursed on this, it’ll save us a lot of money,” council member Charlie Christmas said.

Council president Greg Richmond agreed.

“I’d like to see some research done. If we’re getting CARES money for the portable one, would that conflict with us getting a new one or making this repair. Either one,” he said.

In the end, the council agreed to table the issue and take it up in their August meeting tonight (Thursday, Aug. 6) at 6 p.m.

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