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Indiana coronavirus caution urged as IU seeks fraternity closures

Indiana University officials asked Thursday for all 40 fraternity and sorority houses at its Bloomington campus to shut down, saying their high rates of coronavirus infections made them unsafe

Posted: Sep 3, 2020 4:36 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2020 10:21 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana health officials are warning residents to take coronavirus precautions seriously over the Labor Day weekend, even as new statewide COVID-19 risk ratings show most counties have minimal or moderate virus spread.

Indiana University officials have asked all 40 fraternity and sorority houses on its Bloomington campus to shut down because high rates of coronavirus infections, but say they have no authority to force them to close.

INDIANA UNIVERSITY ACTIONS

Testing at some Indiana University fraternity and sorority houses found infection rates above 50%, according to a statement released by the school, but local health officials said Thursday that they were unaware of any infected students who needed hospitalization.

The shared bathrooms and living spaces in those houses make preventing virus spread difficult.

The county health department has already ordered 30 of the 40 houses to quarantine due to the coronavirus.

University officials said they can’t order the houses to close because they’re owned by the fraternity and sorority organizations, but they urged everyone living in them to move out.

“We do not consider, based on our best public health advice, these houses to be safe living environments at this point,” campus Provost Lauren Robel said.

About 2,600 students live in the houses or other forms of communal housing. Testing has not found significant coronavirus spread among students living in residence halls or linked to classrooms on the 42,000-student campus, officials said.

LABOR DAY WARNING

State health officials are urging people to wear masks and avoid crowds during the Labor Day weekend after large gatherings around the Fourth of July contributed to an increase in coronavirus cases during July and August.

Contact tracers have linked more than 3,300 COVID-19 cases to large gatherings and to places such as bars, gyms, hair salons, restaurants and churches, said Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner.

One bar has been connected to 34 cases in two weeks.

Box emphasized that the coronavirus can spread quickly in crowded events if people don’t wear masks and maintain sufficient distance.

“We saw a surge in patients after Memorial Day and our July Fourth gatherings,” Box said. “I don’t want to see that surge after Labor Day.”

Indiana’s seven-day average of new coronavirus infections dropped to about 350 a day in late June but has generally topped 900 since early August.

Hospitalizations have gone up by about 50% in the state during that time.

State health officials on Thursday reported seven more coronavirus-related deaths, taking the state’s death toll to 3,332, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus cases, since Indiana’s first COVID-19 fatality was reported in mid-March.

STATEWIDE RATINGS

The new county-by-county map available on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website Thursday gives a red rating of high coronavirus spread to only Martin County in rural southwestern Indiana.

Seven other counties, including South Bend’s St. Joseph County, Muncie’s Delaware County and Terre Haute’s Vigo County, have orange ratings of moderate to high spread.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1524527

Reported Deaths: 20751
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2077652558
Lake1010411517
Allen946081024
Hamilton73638551
St. Joseph65362761
Elkhart50026632
Vanderburgh48959530
Tippecanoe44411338
Johnson38772527
Hendricks36850462
Porter34709476
Madison29301547
Clark26328328
Vigo25941346
LaPorte23600313
Monroe23478249
Howard22382381
Delaware21877370
Hancock18857220
Bartholomew18433216
Kosciusko18124203
Warrick17207215
Wayne16474303
Floyd16129257
Grant15566299
Morgan14615232
Boone13622138
Noble11983142
Shelby11877152
Dearborn11825113
Henry11771201
Marshall11444171
Dubois11418152
Jackson10772104
Cass10380143
Lawrence10308221
DeKalb10292132
Huntington10277140
Gibson9749126
Montgomery9377144
Knox9162125
Harrison9157117
Whitley886771
Steuben8739105
Jasper8325116
Putnam8306100
Clinton827596
Miami8249135
Jefferson8030127
Wabash7914139
Ripley7278116
Adams6713103
Daviess6661130
Scott663586
White624484
Greene6159112
Clay615275
Decatur6062120
Wells6001120
Jennings600081
Fayette5886122
Posey561648
LaGrange535797
Randolph5171129
Washington511470
Owen5068100
Fountain482580
Spencer457456
Sullivan449866
Starke443986
Fulton440393
Orange435083
Jay419964
Rush418839
Perry397555
Carroll384549
Franklin382850
Vermillion363562
Pike327845
Parke327338
Tipton320675
Blackford275955
Pulaski275375
Newton235461
Brown233556
Benton221521
Crawford220132
Switzerland201414
Martin191822
Warren179522
Union172619
Ohio125216
Unassigned0759

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2496243

Reported Deaths: 31987
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2696772100
Cuyahoga2600613087
Hamilton1742641756
Montgomery1162791651
Summit1084961418
Lucas929121193
Butler82981963
Stark766321431
Lorain63976809
Warren52895489
Mahoning50955930
Lake47462611
Clermont46371452
Delaware40674220
Trumbull39527790
Licking38492416
Medina38487427
Fairfield35469349
Greene33906435
Portage32283366
Clark31960453
Richland29400444
Wood29143301
Allen25702403
Miami23931408
Muskingum23316255
Columbiana22903409
Wayne21965365
Tuscarawas19512428
Erie18531224
Ashtabula18489362
Marion18456235
Scioto17888214
Ross17287260
Pickaway16251181
Hancock16004232
Geauga15456229
Lawrence14746186
Belmont14033248
Union1403384
Huron13838184
Jefferson13519261
Sandusky13180200
Athens12624107
Knox12037201
Seneca11934204
Darke11316202
Ashland11157184
Washington11009172
Auglaize10785147
Crawford10333178
Shelby10308160
Brown9972145
Fulton9661154
Highland9632151
Guernsey9612122
Defiance9486137
Logan9403147
Clinton9299132
Mercer9015112
Madison8971111
Preble8428170
Williams8263138
Putnam8024136
Champaign7974113
Ottawa7909123
Jackson7763121
Perry7415102
Coshocton7345136
Morrow723984
Fayette703292
Pike658489
Hardin6532133
Gallia634391
Adams6159127
Van Wert6025121
Henry598196
Hocking5835105
Wyandot498894
Carroll4961101
Holmes4857167
Paulding421665
Meigs397774
Monroe313868
Harrison296362
Noble295652
Morgan289448
Vinton254646
Unassigned08
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