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Allen County now at 9 COVID-19 deaths and 112 cases; provides update on virus, testing

Another two Allen County residents have died from COVID-19 and 14 have tested positive, bringing the total to 112 cases and nine deaths Thursday.

Updates to positive cases and deaths in Allen County are found at the top of the Department’s COVID-19 webpage at www.allencountyhealth.com/covid-19 and will be time-stamped to keep the public informed with the latest local data.

The Department will not be able to provide specific information regarding each individual due to the continued increase in the number of positive cases. However, some basic demographic information is provided on the website and will be updated at least once a week.

Because of delays in private lab reporting to the state, the case count provided by the Indiana State Department of Health at www.in.gov/coronavirus may not always immediately match Allen County’s case numbers.

The Health Department on Thursday also offered an update on testing and the nature of the virus.

“Experts estimate this virus is three times as infectious as influenza. Part of the reason for this is because this virus is transmitted via an ultrafine mist, which remains suspended in the air for up to three hours after talking. In addition, this virus can live on surfaces for hours up to 72 hours depending on the surface. So it is believed even touching something an infected person recently touched could cause another to become infected,” the department stated. “All of this highlights how difficult it is to contain this infection.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been affected, the department noted, and “Allen County is not immune to this phenomenon . . . We are working closely with the facilities and the Indiana State Department of Health to minimize the risk to residents and staff. Unfortunately, we will likely continue to experience cases in communal living as this virus works its way through our community, and we will continue to rely on a these strong partnerships to protect the health and well-being of all Allen County residents.

As for testing, the department stated that “One of the difficulties associated with a non-influenza pandemic like COVID-19 is that routine medical interventions like testing, vaccination and treatment are not available at the onset of the pandemic. In terms of testing, a test was developed within a few weeks that was specific for this novel virus, but the number of kits was very limited at the onset. A few weeks later, commercial labs made testing available, but not without a few hiccups – mainly the turnaround time, which was initially 7-10 days,” the department said in a statement.

Testing swabs and viral transport medium remain in short supply, so the Indiana State Department of Health continues to focus on highest-risk patients and provide results within 24-48 hours of sample receipt. ISDH will approve COVID-19 testing for the following highest-risk patients:

1. Patients who require hospitalization due to complications of their acute respiratory illness and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

2. Healthcare workers and first responders with symptoms consistent of COVID-19 who in their role have potential or unknown exposure to at risk patients.

3. Patients and staff (who have direct contact with patients) at long-term care facilities with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and otherwise no known COVID-19 contact.

4. Persons experiencing homelessness with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and otherwise no known COVID-19 contact.

5. Patients who expire with suspected COVID-19 symptoms.

6. Inmate patients and staff (with direct contact with inmates) at correctional facilities with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and otherwise no known COVID-19 contact.

7. Patients 65 years of age and older with symptoms consistent with COVID-19

8. Patients with underlying conditions with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 According to the CDC, high-risk conditions include:

i. People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

ii. People who have heart disease with complications

iii. People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment

iv. People of any age with severe obesity (BMI >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure or liver disease

9. Pregnant women

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