Indiana officials emphasize caution for college students headed home

Many of the new COVID-19 cases across the state are trending back to the 18- to 30-year-old group, Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said during a Wednesday news conference. That’s especially concerning as college and university students prepare to go home for the holidays, she said.

Posted: Nov 19, 2020 5:42 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2020 5:45 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — With thousands of students across Indiana transitioning back to their homes to finish the academic semester online, health officials are pleading for them to do so cautiously as the state continues to see record increases in new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.

Many of the new COVID-19 cases across the state are trending back to the 18- to 30-year-old group, Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said during a Wednesday news conference.

That’s especially concerning as college and university students prepare to go home for the holidays, she said.

Box advised students leaving their campuses to “behave as if you have COVID, or have been exposed,” and recommended they quarantine at home for 14 days.

She also encouraged students to wear a mask inside their house, use their own bathroom when possible and avoid seeing elderly relatives until they’ve completed a two-week isolation without symptoms of the virus.

“And please don’t head out to the bars or hang out with all the friends you haven’t seen for months,” she said. “You need to keep those social bubbles small.”

Already, a number of Indiana’s colleges and universities have started screening students for coronavirus before they head home.

University of Notre Dame students must undergo coronavirus testing before they leave South Bend, Indiana, for the winter break. A student who is exposed or tests positive must quarantine on campus for two weeks, and those who don’t complete the test can’t register for classes in the spring.

University officials tightened the testing requirement after students rushed the field to celebrate a football victory earlier this month.

Although students at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, won’t be required a COVID-19 test before leaving campus, the university has mandated students to submit a test result within seven days before arriving back on campus in January. Students who don’t comply will not be permitted to access their academic courses or move into residence halls.

Indiana University in Bloomington — where samplings of faculty, staff and students are tested each week to identify and contain outbreaks — will open its weekly surveillance testing to all of the 42,000 students living on or near campus. But while all students are being offered a test just before Thanksgiving, most will not be required to take one.

Coronavirus testing is also available at Purdue University in West Lafayette, but the university is only encouraging — not mandating — that students get tested before or after traveling for Thanksgiving.

To help ramp up testing, the state plans to send BinaxNOW rapid-testing cards to several universities around the state, Box said.

“Every student who is tested will receive information that tells them what the results mean and the steps that they should take,” Box said, noting, however, that the rapid tests provide “just a snapshot in time” and could show a positive test as negative, depending on when the student was exposed.

While Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that all K-12 schools in the state will cease in-person instruction starting Nov. 23, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has resisted another statewide closure of schools like the one he issued in March.

The Republican governor has instead insisted that mask-wearing and social distancing “are proven to work” so schools can remain open for in-person instruction.

Still, as virus spread increases, dozens of Indiana school districts are changing in-person learning schedules or sending students home altogether. Many schools are having trouble staying open due to the growing number of teachers and students who are sick or on quarantine, Box said last week, advising local officials to reconsider schools’ operations plans as virus spread spikes.

All schools in Marion County, which includes Indianapolis, are now required to close and return to virtual instruction by Nov. 30. Schools are encouraged to close sooner, if possible, and instruction will remain online until at least Jan. 15.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Fishers, a suburb of Indianapolis, elected to move students to virtual-only learning this week, citing too few healthy teachers and concerns over local hospital capacities.

A head cook at one of the district’s elementary schools died Tuesday night from COVID-19, said Superintendent Allen Bourff. Pam Podany was entering her eighth year working for the district and had been out from work since fall break, which started Oct. 19.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1084488

Reported Deaths: 17386
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1425562217
Lake705171220
Allen64347862
Hamilton49481481
St. Joseph48135639
Elkhart39011536
Vanderburgh33874494
Tippecanoe29863271
Johnson26876463
Hendricks25548379
Porter24683380
Madison20440444
Clark19785275
Vigo18609308
LaPorte16638260
Monroe16237217
Delaware16230286
Howard16181310
Kosciusko13763162
Hancock12644184
Bartholomew12544188
Warrick11889189
Wayne11794264
Floyd11792225
Grant11484233
Morgan10134188
Boone9576120
Noble8921121
Henry8917163
Marshall8792146
Dearborn875798
Dubois8673138
Shelby7958127
Cass7907126
Lawrence7861182
DeKalb7416106
Jackson738093
Huntington7280107
Gibson6922118
Montgomery6830122
Harrison680696
Knox6779113
Steuben641185
Miami6384106
Whitley631160
Putnam626582
Clinton614176
Wabash5958108
Jasper591991
Jefferson5617102
Ripley540892
Adams527881
Daviess4964116
Scott475978
Wells462998
White459967
Greene458399
Clay452162
Decatur4491109
Jennings434666
Fayette429094
LaGrange413890
Posey398344
Washington380654
Randolph3770107
Fountain364962
Spencer353446
Fulton352270
Starke343672
Sullivan342454
Owen341676
Orange320270
Jay315450
Rush293332
Carroll287037
Franklin283544
Perry281453
Vermillion277557
Parke244930
Tipton244664
Pike241744
Blackford213944
Pulaski203158
Newton176552
Brown169850
Crawford167129
Benton160517
Martin149219
Switzerland143712
Warren131416
Union115416
Ohio90513
Unassigned0581

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1673496

Reported Deaths: 26483
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1757641826
Cuyahoga1629012636
Hamilton1118741528
Montgomery791421387
Summit697231199
Lucas615331017
Butler55597803
Stark521611170
Lorain40661639
Warren35239412
Mahoning34821769
Lake31171493
Clermont30541362
Delaware26553182
Trumbull26366611
Licking26095335
Medina25072351
Fairfield24063287
Greene23957369
Clark21542387
Portage20538280
Richland20465336
Wood19524246
Allen18427320
Miami16950348
Columbiana16385331
Muskingum16346206
Wayne15351304
Tuscarawas14018357
Marion12978194
Erie12350198
Ashtabula12171225
Scioto12166182
Pickaway12009151
Ross11417223
Hancock11151173
Geauga10572174
Lawrence10433171
Belmont10200231
Huron9545155
Jefferson9425225
Union933375
Sandusky8981166
Seneca8639156
Knox8591169
Washington8578156
Athens825096
Darke8215179
Ashland7777147
Auglaize7695115
Shelby7302132
Defiance7174114
Brown7015115
Crawford7010150
Fulton6953111
Logan6818108
Mercer679397
Guernsey677983
Highland6591117
Madison639289
Clinton6361106
Williams623498
Preble6153139
Putnam6054120
Jackson569496
Champaign564786
Perry557179
Coshocton5525103
Ottawa549599
Morrow504464
Fayette481270
Hardin475399
Gallia460278
Pike457876
Van Wert451591
Adams4495109
Henry422776
Hocking398093
Holmes3917137
Wyandot366673
Carroll348978
Paulding317449
Meigs300957
Monroe230860
Noble216147
Morgan208938
Harrison204052
Vinton182037
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 24°
Angola
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 26°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 24°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 24°
Van Wert
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 26°
The chilly temperatures and clouds are sticking around Monday with a brief warm up midweek.
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