Local COVID-19 numbers are heading in the right direction at last.
A recent Henry County Board of Health meeting featured good news on several COVID fronts, according to Health Department Administrator Angela Cox.
“Our testing numbers are decreasing drastically, as evidenced by our going to ‘Yellow’ this week,” Cox said. “Our community spread has dropped significantly, so we’re real happy about that.”
As of Monday, Henry County had a 5.25 positivity rate – and that rate was dropping. Health officials say the goal is for positivity rates to be below 5 percent.
The latest stats also showed 20,983 people in Henry County have now been tested. That’s approximately 42 percent of the population here, according to 2010 census numbers. The county has had 5,388 positive cases and 92 deaths.
As far as testing is concerned, Cox said the COVID-19 drive-through testing site is contracted through Henry Community Health.
“The state is providing all of the items needed through June 30 ... testing kits, swabs, personal protective equipment (PPE) and courier service for the tests to go to the lab,” Cox said. “I look for the State Department of Health to extend that at least until the end of the year, but haven’t seen any formal conversation yet.”
Meanwhile, more and more local residents are getting vaccinated.
“We’re doing very well with the vaccination site at Church Street Gym,” Cox said. “Short of the snow storms this week, I’ve had very few people not show up. We are designated to get 500 doses a week, so approximately 100 appointments a day. We usually have anywhere from five to seven people who don’t show up within that day.
“We try really hard to figure out what goes on at the end of the day, how many doses we have left over,” Cox added. “That’s not much fun at all. It takes a village to figure that out. We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve been able to call people ahead that were scheduled either the next day, a couple of days ahead or even into next week that meet the criteria and have them come in. We have a small grant for the vaccination site to help with staffing and different items to run the site. And that is to fund us through June 30.”
Right now, vaccinations are being given to those 65 and over. Brooke Cowan, Henry Community Health’s infection preventionist, said she believes the age criteria will be lowered to 60 and over soon.
“The state of Indiana is sticking very strongly with an age-based approach,” Cox explained. “That has to do with the morbidity and the mortality of people who are 65 and up and hospitalization rates.”
Cowan said efforts are being made locally to get the vaccines out to all area dialysis centers, where they will be administered to those patients.