A spike in cases at a local nursing home and the third-largest single day increase in positive tests point to an uptick in the spread of the virus in Tippecanoe County.
Five residents have died and 74 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Lafayette nursing home Rosewalk Village, according to data published on the home's website. Twenty-four of those positive tests were recorded from Tuesday to Friday of last week.
The website updated today to reflect there are 34 active cases in the nursing home, 30 among residents and four among employees. No new cases were reported among residents over the weekend, and only one new employee tested positive.
The Indiana State Department of Health's daily updating map counts 85 positive tests for coronavirus in Tippecanoe County over the past seven days, a 30-case increase from the 55 reported during the previous week. The online chart of cases shows a dip during the first week of June and a substantial positive slope during the latter half of this month.
"As we reopen and we're almost to Stage 5, I think that people take that to mean that COVID-19 is no longer a threat and that it's safe," county nursing supervisor Khala Hochstedler said, referring to Gov. Eric Holcomb's five-stage reopening plan. "So people aren't wearing their masks and they're not taking the precautions they were taking."
The largest single day increase in cases in the county is 35 on May 2. On Thursday, 26 positive tests were confirmed, the third-largest increase attributed to one day.
From June 16 to June 21, three people died of coronavirus in Tippecanoe County, representing nearly half of the county's eight deaths. Hochstedler said all of the people who have died have been 65 or older.
The health department has tracked an outsize increase in the number of cases in the area's Latino community, Hochstedler said. More messages will be transmitted in Spanish, she said, to reach the nearly 13% of residents who identify as Hispanic or Latino in Lafayette, according to census data.
The health department this month made the decision to host biweekly meetings between local hospital executives, health officer Jeremy Adler, the mayors of Lafayette and West Lafayette and County Commissioner Tracy Brown. The decision is a departure from the weekly meetings that have occurred since early March.
Hochstedler said the meetings will likely continue as biweekly throughout the month of July, as there are no additional phases in the governor's plan. Stage 5 is set to begin Saturday, and the only significant restrictions remaining will be the recommendation to wear face coverings and maintain six feet of distance in public.
A member of Purdue's Safe Campus Task Force, the 15-member team that aims to open campus this fall with necessary precautions in place, will join the usual panel of speakers at Wednesday's health department meeting, Hochstedler said.