4 southeast Indiana counties removed from state’s highest COVID-19 threat level

Gov. Holcomb gives update on COVID-19 response

INDIANAPOLIS (FOX19) - Four southeast Indiana counties are no longer at the highest alert level for COVID-19 on the state’s map.

Dearborn, Ripley, Switzerland, and Union counties are back to the orange level for the first time in weeks.

Franklin and Ohio counties remain at the red level, which is the highest in Indiana, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Counties in the red level indicate their seven-day positivity rate is 15% or greater, and there are 200 or more new weekly cases per 100,000 residents.

There are specific guidelines for counties in the red level under Gov. Eric Holcomb’s order:

  • All social gatherings are limited to 25 people.
  • Special, seasonal or commercial events planned for more than 25 people require the approval of a safety plan by the local health department. College and professional sports are included.
  • Health officials advise that events be canceled or postponed.
  • Attendance at winter indoor K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular events, including IHSAA sports, is limited to participants, support personnel and parents, or guardians.
  • Local officials can consider limiting hours for the operation of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.
  • Community recreational sports leagues and tournaments may continue with participants, required personnel, and parents or guardians only.
  • Common areas and break rooms should be closed.
  • Senior care activities are suspended.
  • Hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other congregate settings can impose visitation limits.

An executive order will go into effect on Feb. 1 that will change one thing for counties in either red or yellow category.

Gov. Holcomb says the new order will change overall attendance at social gatherings or events from 25 people to 25% for those counties.

The order will go through Feb. 28, according to Gov. Holcomb.

The ISDH reported 2,260 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

Here is a breakdown of new and total cases for all Indiana counties in the FOX19 NOW viewing area:

  • Dearborn County: 20 new cases (4,906 total)
  • Franklin County: 17 new cases (1,516 total)
  • Ohio County: One new case (497 total)
  • Ripley County: 14 new cases (3,030 total)
  • Switzerland County: 12 new cases (681 total)
  • Union County: Three new cases (632 total)

The overall number of COVID-19 cases is now 617,176.

The ISDH reported 40 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday. One death was reported in Ripley County, according to the state’s data.

To date, 9,470 people in Indiana have died from the virus since March 15, 2020.

Indiana’s seven-day positivity rate for all tests is 9.1%. Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box says this is the first time in months where the state’s positive rate is below 10%.

Gov. Holcomb did point out the drop in positivity rate doesn’t mean “we’re out of the woods.” He says Hoosiers must continue to follow guidelines.

Indiana is still in Phase 1A of its vaccine plan.

Phase 1A makes anyone over the age of 70, work or volunteer in healthcare, first responders, long-term care facility residents, work in a congregate living facility for youth, anyone with exposure to COVID-19 infectious material eligible for the vaccine.

The next group to be eligible for the vaccine will be Hoosiers 65 years of age and older. Indiana State Health Department Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver says the hope is to make vaccines available to this group possibly next week.

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