Miami County has been designated "red" as a county with a high degree of transmission, reflecting the worsening and ongoing spread in our county.
The county will remain red until two consecutive weeks of decreasing transmission with decreasing positivity rates and cases that determine our county score.
The "red" guidelines for what should be done per the most recent Executive Order by the governor can be found online at the ISDH website. The guidelines are broken down for different areas such as planned events, social gatherings, restaurants, schools, and sporting events. The statewide mandate for wearing masks and social distancing is unchanged. There is a list of things described by the acronym "SMASH" that can help lessen or mitigate viral spread-no one thing is effective on its own:
Social distancing, wear a Mask, Avoid large gatherings, Stay home if you are sick, and Hand washing or disinfecting frequently
Some things have never changed for this virus: it is very contagious, and it can be very deadly for vulnerable people, in certain groups that have been described and shared. Most people will have a mild illness, and they will recover fully. The hospitals in Indiana are now full of patients with Covid-19 that may not recover quickly, if at all. The hospital staffs are very tired, and some hospitals are seeing critical staffing shortages.
It will be up to a local business owner to monitor if their workers and patrons should be protected by demanding that all wear a mask and social distance inside. It is a privilege to go inside our businesses; no one has a right to enter and demand the owner allow them to increase risk of spread inside. Our health department is too small to monitor this. We would like to provide enough education for why this is critical when there are so many infected now.
It is an individual responsibility to protect the vulnerable people in our lives until a vaccine is available to all to lessen this horrible toll.
There is a vaccine, soon-to-be released, for health care workers delivered by hospitals, as well as for long-term-care facilities in the state, as with the nation. The next vaccine doses that are released will likely be for vulnerable individuals that we want to quickly protect, as well as front-line essential workers. These guidelines and the number of doses for our county will be determined by the Indiana Department of Health. These vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective; they require two doses. It is hoped that these vaccines will indeed change what we have been enduring for so long, and let us get back to our lives.
The quarantine guidelines for close contacts from the CDC have changed. The 14-day quarantine remains the lowest risk. The updated 10-day quarantine guidelines require ongoing monitoring of symptoms, wearing a mask constantly, social distancing, hand disinfection frequently for the full 14 days. Very few essential workers would be using the 7-day quarantine pathway which requires a test on day 5 to be negative, and still the 14-day monitoring of symptoms, etc. as mentioned for the 10-day description. Isolation at home for 10 days when one has a positive test or an onset of symptoms is unchanged. Please get tested within 7 days of an onset of symptoms with a rapid test, or on day 5 of exposure if a close contact. Please answer the central contact tracing system number if you test positive; you need to protect your close contacts. At the Health Department, we try to provide those who are positive isolation and quarantine guideline as soon as possible, and ask if there are needs for help to stay at home.
Testing is available at the Miami County Health Department's Community Based testing site located at the Boulevard entrance at Dukes Hospital, and at the Optum testing site at the National Guard Armory on German Drive. Both sites may be found online at the ISDH website "Find a Testing Site Near Me" tab, both are drive-thru, and both require pre-registration. If you have insurance and a provider, ask your provider's office to send a test order to a hospital to schedule a test if you are a close contact or have symptoms.
Dr. Christi Redmon