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Monroe County COVID-19 Positivity Rates Are Down Significantly, But So Is Testing

IUPUI, in collaboration with the Indiana State Department of Health, will launch Phase 3 of a COVID-19 tracking study.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

COVID-19 cases in Monroe County declined again this week, but county health officials do not believe the numbers are indicative of the true picture.

"It may look a little lower than it truly has been, and it could be because of the lack of testing," said Penny Caudill, county health administrator.

Caudill said the number of people tested was significantly lower due to inclement weather.

"Where normally we might have several thousand tests done each day, we’ve been having a few hundred," said Caudill.

The true positivity rate could be much higher once more people start getting tested again and, according to Caudill, the numbers might rebound next week and raise the county’s rate.

Monroe County currently has a positivity rate of 1.5%. 

But, as the local case numbers are decreasing, the number of people getting vaccinated is increasing.

IU Health South Central Region President Brian Shockney said more than 33,500 people have been vaccinated at its Bloomington and Paoli locations.

"We still have a great deal of work to do, but these lower COVID numbers give us hope, give us comfort and give us relief currently for a team that has worked really hard through this pandemic," said Shockney.

Statewide virus data also reflect a decrease in both the number of cases and the positivity rate. The Indiana State Department of Health has been consistently reporting its lowest number of daily cases since Fall 2020.

This trend has led to the NCAA announcing that fans will be allowed to attend March Madness tournament games next month. Most games are scheduled to be played in Indianapolis, but opening round games will be hosted at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

READ MORE: Fans OK For All Rounds Of NCAA Tournament

Marion County is allowing fans at 25% capacity in Lucas Oil Stadium but Assembly Hall will only be permitting 500 close friends and family at its games.

"This decision was not made easily," said Kirk White, head of IU’s COVID-19 response team. "The other venues in the state may have a more liberal policy, but ours will not."

White said the decision was made after lengthy discussions with the Monroe County Health Department and IU medical professionals.

Local government and health officials are continuing to remain cautious on public gathering size limits.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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