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Crawford’s COVID positivity rate dips to 8.9%

Crawford’s COVID positivity rate dips to 8.9% Crawford’s COVID positivity rate dips to 8.9%
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]

Coronavirus cases continue to increase across the country, and Crawford County is following that trend.

At the Nov. 25 meeting of the Crawford County coronavirus task force, county health nurse Donna Parker reported there had been a total of 288 positive cases in the county, an increase of 51 over the previous week.

By Nov. 30, that number had increased by 37 for a total of 325. The seven-day positivity rate of unique individuals was 15.3%, an improvement over the previous week’s rate of 19.9%. The state positivity rate is 21.1% and there have been a total of 338,977 positive COVID cases in Indiana since March with 5,456 deaths.

Another bright spot is that Crawford County remained at the orange level. While that’s just one level below the highest alert of red, it means the county is maintaining. The majority of Indiana counties remain orange.

Dr. Martin Dixon noted Crawford County is “10 times more sensitive to being thrown into that category” due to its low population. The positivity rate is calculated per 100,000 residents.

Dixon also said fall and winter are typically the times when people get sick and hospital admissions rise.

“Traditionally, this time of year there’s a large number of hospital admissions and sick people,” he said. “The fact that we’re seeing this is not unusual. It will probably last until January. … I don’t see the increase as unusual or alarming.”

Parker said she had spoken with the infection control nurse at Todd-Dickey Health & Rehab in Leavenworth and learned they are seeing an increase in both residents and staff testing positive. Visits from family members have been halted.

Task force members discussed the impact if the Indiana State Department of Health should designate Crawford as a red county.

Environmental health specialist Eric Satterfield said should that happen, the biggest change would be further restrictions on public gatherings.

Morton Dale, president of the board of commissioners, said county government offices would change to appointment-only interactions.

“We’re not going to shut down county government,” said Dale. “We didn’t before.”

EMS director Tim Farris said ambulance runs are up an average of two more per day over the last two years. Breathing difficulties top the list of reasons an ambulance is called, he said.

A growing concern is the number of hospitals that are full due to the pandemic.

“It’s tough. We’re seeing a lot of hospitals full,” he said. “Harrison County is on diversion. A lot of counties north of here are going to Indy.”

Farris said some hospitals have even opened up administrative areas to accommodate more patients.

“It’s very trying times right now for anybody in health care and the people that are getting sick,” he said.

Farris noted the mental health issues he and his staff are seeing, saying depression is common this time of the year and the pandemic only exacerbates the issues.

“It’s a big worry,” he said. “I just hope people will reach out and ask for help before making a decision to do something.”

Farris noted the ambulance service recently began helping transport hospice patients from their homes to dialysis.

“There’s only one place they can go if they’re COVID-positive,” he said.

The ambulance service is reimbursed for those transports.

“If there’s a way to provide service to them so they get health care, we’re going to do it,” he said.

Call for help

Feelings of sadness and depression are often intensified during the holiday season. Those feelings can be even more difficult to process in the midst of a pandemic, when many people are cut off from support systems.

Help is available.

If you’re experiencing severe depression or have thoughts of harming yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text IN to 741741. Help is available 24 hours a day.

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