Ind. health officials release new school COVID-19 guidelines

Posey Co. limiting Rapid tests
Newscast recording
Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 12:23 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

INDIANA (WFIE) - Monday, the Indiana Department of Health reported 4,091 new COVID-19 cases and zero new deaths.

The pandemic total in the state is 1,278,285 cases and 18,433 deaths.

The map shows 105 new cases in Vanderburgh County, 38 new cases in Warrick County, 26 new cases in Dubois County, two new cases in Perry County, 15 new cases in Posey County, 14 new cases in Gibson County, four new cases in Spencer county, and three new cases in Pike County.

Deaconess Hospital released new COVID-19 hospitalizations numbers Monday. They say 114 people are in their hospitals with COVID. 99 of them are not vaccinated.

Of those, 45 patients are in the ICU. 41 are not vaccinated. They say 27 patients are on a ventilator. 26 of them are not vaccinated.

Deaconess COVID-19 numbers, January 3, 2022
Deaconess COVID-19 numbers, January 3, 2022(Deaconess)

Indiana Department of Health is encouraging Hoosiers to review their updated COVID-19 guidance as students head back to school after winter break.

Click here to see it.

Many schools are reopening their doors this week after winter break, which also means opening the door to whatever students bring back from holiday gatherings. Pediatrician Capri Weyer at Deaconess Hospital says they’re getting ready, and already seeing the impact.

“Generally over the holidays we saw all time high new cases of COVID among children, as well as hospitalizations,” said Weyer. “Unfortunately, with all the gatherings of the holiday and the new year sometimes we don’t see the true impact of that until a few weeks out.”

Which is why Weyer says the next five to six weeks are crucial for students and faculty heading back to school, to help get ahead of the curve.

“The virus is getting smarter,” she said. “It’s getting more contagious, it’s able to find those that are more vulnerable.”

So the time is now, Weyer says, to wear a mask to school. Whether it’s optional or not, and whether you’re vaccinated or not, and she doesn’t just recommend any mask.

“Really want to encourage parents to avoid putting their children in basic cloth masks at this time,” said Weyer. “We’re finding the omicron variant is more contagious and for that you do need a better mask. The best option would be a KN-95 mask.”

Weyer says the second best option to a KN-95 is a triple-layer surgical mask. These are the standard blue and white masks commonly seen in hospitals, and now in public.

Warrick County schools work in a metric system when it comes to masking.

Warrick Co. school officials say they are required when positive cases are above a certain percentage of the school. Warrick Superintendent Todd Lambert says his schools case numbers aren’t in percentages to require masks as of now.

“We’re monitoring it in an ongoing way, particularly right now,” said Lambert. “I think I would tell parents we’re not going to let cases get out of control in our schools. We can stair step other mitigation strategies as needed.”

Dr. Weyer says wearing a mask is a small ask to keep students and faculty safe.

“I would ask school leaders to lead by example,” said Weyer. “If you’re sick stay home. If you have symptoms, if you’ve been exposed, get tested. Keep those masks on whether you’re in the classroom, in the hallways, or on the school bus. Keep those masks on to show students it’s really not that difficult to keep those masks on.”

As for EVSC schools, their officials gave an update Monday and said they are still requiring masks. Their school guidelines and recommendations come straight from the Indiana state health department.

Health officials in Posey County say they were notified by the Indiana Department of Health they are going to be required to limit testing for COVID-19 starting Tuesday due to limited supply of Rapid Antigen testing.

They say those tests will be reserved for anyone age 18 and younger and symptomatic individuals age 50 and older.

Testing is still available at the Deaconess lab at the Mt Vernon Medical Center with an appointment.

As a reminder, any Hoosier five and older can schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at https://ourshot.in.gov.

Those without a computer or cell phone can call 211.

Here are the coronavirus totals in our part of Indiana:

  • Vanderburgh Co. - 38,656 cases, 511 deaths
  • Dubois Co. - 9,399 cases, 148 deaths
  • Warrick Co. - 13,639 cases, 205 deaths
  • Perry Co. - 3,229 cases, 54 deaths
  • Posey Co. - 4,546 cases, 46 deaths
  • Gibson Co. - 7,875 cases, 121 deaths
  • Spencer Co. - 4,000 cases, 55 deaths
  • Pike Co. - 2,797 cases, 45 deaths

Copyright 2022 WFIE. All rights reserved.