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Gov. Holcomb changes COVID school guidelines

Gov. Holcomb changes COVID school guidelines Gov. Holcomb changes COVID school guidelines

Gov. Eric Holcomb last week made changes to guidelines for schools regarding COVID-19. Effective Feb. 8, for students who have close contact with a positive case, rules no longer require quarantine or contact tracing if students and teachers remain at least three feet apart and are wearing a mask at all times in the classroom.

Quarantine rules still apply to exposures that occur at lunch, athletics, band or choir or any other school setting, or if teachers and students have removed their masks.

Schools now have options regarding quarantine with a 10-day option if a student in close contact never developed symptoms and wears a mask at all times at school. There is also the option of a seven-day quarantine if a negative PCR nasal swab is conducted on days five through seven or a negative rapid test is conducted on day eight.

Indiana county health departments and health care facilities continue to administer COVID-19 vaccines to eligible populations. Hoosiers age 65 and older and those with pre-existing conditions, along with health care workers and first responders who have face-to-face interactions with patients or infectious material or work in a public-facing position that requires in-person contact, are eligible to receive the vaccine. The complete list of those eligible now is posted at https://ourshot.in.gov.

Individuals who need assistance with registration should contact Indiana 211 by calling 1-866-211-9966. A photo ID, proof of age or verification of current employment as a health care worker or first responder in Indiana will be required. Masks are required.

Locally, vaccinations are being administered, by appointment only, at First Capital Christian Church, 305 Oliver St. in Corydon.

People who have been vaccinated may still be able to infect others, so even those who are vaccinated should continue wearing a mask and quarantining if they are a close contact of a positive case.

As of Feb. 7, 694,945 Hoosiers had received their first dose of the vaccine with 216,389 having been fully vaccinated.

To date, 4,915 Harrison County residents have received their first dose of the vaccine and 894 have received their second dose and are now fully vaccinated.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Harrison County increased by 129 to 3,809 as of Feb. 8.

According to the Harrison County Health Dept., 58 local residents have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began; that includes two clinical deaths (a probable COVID-19 case when a physician diagnoses a patient as having COVID-19 but no test was documented). The total number of deaths include nine identified through an audit of 2020 and 2021 COVID death records and test results from the Indiana Dept. of Health not reported at the local level. These deaths reported for Harrison County range in age from 69 to 96 and occurring between June 2020 and January 2021.

Statewide, there have been 11,526 deaths, an increase of 1,849 since last week, and an additional 39 clinical deaths, bringing that number to 416.

Holcomb said during his press conference last Wednesday afternoon that the number of deaths in many counties increased because COVID deaths that occurred earlier have been added to the totals. For various reasons, those deaths were not initially determined to have been due to COVID.

As of Feb. 8, there have been 641,874 positive tests of the virus statewide, an increase of 11,971 since last week. In all, 7,328,824 tests have been performed, up from 7,067,175 the previous week.

Four of Indiana’s 92 counties — Gibson, Switzerland, Warren and Whitley — are in the red zone, with the majority of counties remaining in orange, one level below the red zone.  Twenty-nine counties are yellow. There are no counties at blue, the lowest level.

Visit the ISDH website at https://in.gov/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Indiana.

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