VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The Indiana State Department of Health has flagged Vigo County regarding COVID-19. This specifically deals with cases in congregate settings, which are places where several people live together.
News 10 caught up with Health Educator at the Vigo County Health Department Roni Elder. She says Vigo County COVID-19 cases are, in fact, going up, but when you look deeper into why, there is a lot more to that story.
First, we looked at the state data. Indiana rates counties on a scale of one to three. Vigo County received a rating of 2.5. The rating is based on case numbers and positivity rates. Vigo County is one of only three counties this high.
Vigo County is also one of five counties in the state to be flagged for positive cases in highly populated settings. Elder says this is largely due to the federal prison, but we also looked at what's happening without the federal inmate data.
While overall cases are still on the rise, there is an encouraging trend here. The amount of new daily cases has decreased over the past three weeks. Elder spoke about how the health department is working with the federal prison to make sure these numbers drop in the near future.
"We actually have a really good working relationship with the federal prison here. We work with them almost daily when they have positive cases or if they need any resources from us," Elder explained, "We are always here to help them out and they are very transparent. They're doing everything they can and their numbers have gone down also since they had a rise in cases."
Overall, Elder says there's more to the story of the state's data.
"That is why we are flagged about those congregate settings because we have a lot of universities here and then the federal prison. Not that they are doing a bad job, but they do add a lot to our numbers," Elder continued, "Even with those two groups included, this last week our numbers went down significantly which hasn't been shown on the state's website yet."
The Indiana Department of Health's website will update Wednesday at noon, and Elder says we should see an encouraging update.
"We're slowly moving into our new normal which is what phasing back into society was all about," Elder concluded, "For instance, gradually starting school and gradually going back out to eat was so we could get our numbers to go down a little bit. Hopefully, that is the path that we are on now."
Elder commended the community's efforts of following state health and safety guidelines and assured News 10 that it is working. She says the health department is optimistic, but they are anxious to see Labor day COVID-19 number start to come in this week and next week.