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Local Covid-19 Statistics

As of Monday, April 20, COVID-19 has 12,097 confirmed cases in Indiana. That is up from 7,928 for the previous Sunday, April 12. There have been 642 deaths more than doubled the 343 deaths statewide on Sunday, April 12.
There have been 67,264 Hoosiers tested for the virus up from 42,489.
In Jackson County there have been 98 confirmed cases up from 70 cases a week prior. There have been 455 people tested, up from 262 tests performed in the previous week. No deaths have been reported in Jackson County.
In Scott County there have been 25 confirmed cases, up from 17 the previous week, 251 tests performed up from 137 the previous Sunday. Two people have died as of April 20.

Coronavirus Peak In Indiana Now Predicted For Early May

Governor Extends Stay-At-Home Order To May 1

State officials pushed the projected peak of COVID-19 cases in Indiana from this week to early May, crediting a lower than expected rate of infection to Hoosiers “hunkered down” at home and flattening the curve of the disease’s spread.
Analysts now predict the surge will hit Marion County in late April and the rest of the state in early May.
But Dr. Troy Abbottt of Anderson said the gathering of families for church on the Easter would likely cause additional infections.
“We’re still in the woods,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said in extending his Stay At Home order until May 1 “But the good news is that we can see the clearing ahead. And it’s only because of the efforts we (Hoosiers made in) managing that surge.”
Holcomb said he would review by the end of this week his executive order closing down non-essential businesses. The order is set to expire near the end of the month.
“And what we do know is we need these essential businesses, whether it’s meat or medicine, to be up and running. We can’t allow ourselves to fall in a situation where our national supplies are threatened,” Holcomb said, following news of a coronavirus outbreak at a South Dakota meat processing plant.
Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, cautioned against reading too much into low infection numbers from the holiday weekend but said the revisions of the predicted peak reflected successful social distancing.
“What this also means is that we can’t relax our guard; social distancing is still absolutely critical to our overall goal,” Box said.
Nationally, President Donald Trump has pushed to reopen businesses as quickly as possible, which health experts warn could bring a second wave of the virus.
“I think the president has Hoosiers’ best interest in mind. I don’t think he wants, nor do I, to act prematurely by getting back to work,” Holcomb said. “We have to be able to respond in real time to what those actual needs are, so we’ll continue to work with the (Trump) administration as we have.”
Holcomb and Box both stressed that their executive orders and COVID-19 peak predictions might not match orders and projections from the Trump administration.
“I think our surge doesn’t match up with theirs because our surge predictions are based much more specifically on Indiana numbers alone,” Box said. “I really do believe that we have not seen the peak of that surge yet. But I do believe it will be a lot lower, which is the result of very strict guidelines and requirements that we’ve had for social distancing in the state.”
Holcomb said the state’s coronavirus infection numbers over the next few days, as well as conversations with governors of bordering states, would inform his decisions moving ahead.
“We don’t want to … make a call prematurely and go through this again,” the governor said. “That would be even worse.”

Nature At Home

Activities To Help Families Stay Connected to the Natural World, Even from Home

“These are uncertain times – but one thing is always true: we need a connection to the natural world,” said Liz Brownlee, Executive Director of Oak Heritage Conservancy.
The Oak heritage Conservancy has nature preserves all around southeast Indiana, but in response to Covid-19, their nonprofit has cancelled all in-person events. Still, they still wanted to help people spend time in nature.
“Getting out in nature helps us all feel calm and find some joy. The world is coming into full bloom right now, and taking time to look for wildflowers or find a tree that’s just budding out— well, these things reassure us that some things in our world are constant. Plus, time outside helps us burn off some energy and have fun!”
Oak Heritage wants everyone to find that sense of joy in nature, so they are providing projects that nature lovers of all ages can do from home.
“Our members and volunteers still wanted to feel connected to each other and to nature,” said Brownlee.
Each week, they post a new project to their website, www.oakheritageconservancy.org, and to their Instagram and Facebook pages.
So far, activities have included a wildlife tracking detective game, a DIY birdfeeder building project, and a craft project that challenged families to connect over social media and build a tree together, from afar. All of these past projects are still available on the website for. New ones are posted weekly. They are free for everyone to enjoy, including Oak Heritage members and the general public.
“Of course we can’t wait to start hosting programs at our nature preserves again,” says Brownlee. “We love it when you come and take wildflower walks, look for butterflies, and ramble through old growth forests. But until we can all gather outside together again, we hope these Nature at Home projects let you learn about nature, feel a sense of calm and joy— and have some fun outside.”

Deputies Arrest Two For Drugs

An Underwood man was arrested for the second time in two months on drug charges last week. On Monday, April 13, Deputy Johnney Coomer made a traffic stop in rural Scott County. His questioning led to the arrest of Daniel Goetzinger, 32, of Underwood, for possession of a narcotic drug, possession of marijuana, resisting law enforcement and violation of the governor’s Stay At Home order.
On Feb. 21 Goetzinger was arrested at his home for possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, battery on a police officer, possession of stolen property and maintaining a common nuisance
Also on April 13, Deputies Coomer, John Hartman and Skylar Thompson checked a suspicious vehicle parked on Slateford Road in rural Scott County. Their investigation led to the arrest of Camren Zanier, 24, of Austin for dealing in methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia and violation of the governor’s Stay At Home order.

It’s Like A Brushfire

by Curt Kovener

Back in the day…better make that WAY back in the day when I was a first responder on the volunteer fire department, we would get called out to put of grass fires, field fires and woods fires. And there were times that, using what was tantamount to a mudflap on a shovel handle to smother flames, when turning around the fire that we thought was out was flaming again and racing across the ground. Residual embers rekindled the fire.
An infectious diseases expert at Baylor College of Medicine said that the same can be said for COVID-19, and we need to do everything that we can to prevent a rekindling of the disease.
“We don’t know what it will look like after this initial wave,” said Dr. Robert Atmar, professor of infectious diseases at Baylor. “We don’t know whether one or more subsequent waves will occur and cause additional or annual epidemics. We don’t yet know what the pattern will be.”
The goal of flattening the curve by quarantining and social distancing is to decrease the rate at which people are infected so that the healthcare system can manage the number of cases. However, flattening the curve doesn’t necessarily mean that we can decrease the total number of people who are ultimately infected.
After flattening the curve, those of us who are at risk for getting COVID-19 will still have the same risk of getting the disease. Flattening the curve will not impact the disease severity.
So it’s important to not get in a hurry about opening up the economy. Social distancing measures need to stay in place even after South Central Indiana hits its Coronavirus peak, predicted for sometime in May, in order to keep the curve flat.
And it may take several attempts at keeping the curve flat. One advantage of flattening the curve multiple times is that it will give the medical experts time to development a treatment and a vaccine to prevent Coronavirus.
Atmar said he hopes for a vaccine or treatment by the time a second or third wave occurs, but currently there are no proven effective treatments. Please read that again…a second or third wave and currently no effective treatments!
The more we learn about the virus as time goes on, the measures that we need to take to prevent and treat it will be better refined. If ‘normal’ activities resume too quickly, there is a danger that the virus could begin spreading again, he said. “Just like a brush fire.”
“Social distancing, wearing masks and hand hygiene are the only measures available to protect us from infection until we have a vaccine,” Atmar said. “The key is that it’s not going to be business as usual once we get past the hump.”
An analogy most southern Hoosiers will understand: this disease is not like a windstorm or snowstorm that once it is over we can all go out, clear the tree limbs or shovel the sidewalk and get back to normal life. It is like a brush fire that could reignite again and burn us.