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New Hoosier daily high of 8,514 coronavirus cases, city of Bloomington employees contribute to count



Through Nov. 14, the city of Bloomington had logged 17 confirmed coronavirus cases among its employees.

On Thursday, the city issued two separate press releases announcing the 35th and 36th positive tests among city employees. That made for 19 cases in the last 19 days.

On Wednesday night, in remarks to the city council, Bloomington’s mayor John Hamilton put the number of positive COVID-19 tests at about 4 percent of the city’s work force.

That’s about the same as the prevailing percentage of confirmed cases in Monroe County, based on 6,048 confirmed cases out of a total population of 148,431.

It’s about a point less than the 5.3 percent of Hoosiers that are reflected in Thursday’s state department of health dashboard total of 359,430.

After some declines in numbers over Thanksgiving last week, Thursday this week saw the highest daily total in the state of Indiana since the pandemic started: 8,514.

Monroe County returned to daily case numbers of over 100 on three of the last four days, including Thursday’s 134, which put the rolling average at 89.

Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill told The Square Beacon that she does not think spike of the last couple days indicates infections that came from Thanksgiving Day gatherings.

Caudill said she thinks it’s too soon for the numbers to be reflecting that kind of infection.

Caudill thinks the holiday might have slowed some reporting, and the increased numbers over the last few days is a reflection of a backlog in reporting. That’s based on a note about a “historical load of labs” that caused an extra 443 cases added to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The rolling average rate of positivity in Monroe County looks like it’s on a clearly upward trend, on pace to catch up to the statewide figure. The current Monroe County positivity rate is about 8.1 percent compared to 11.4 statewide. That roughly 3-point spread is narrower than the 6-point difference that was seen from mid-October to mid-November.

The closing of the gap between the Monroe County and statewide positivity rates lends some plausibility to the idea that Indiana University’s aggressive mitigation testing strategy could have been artificially damping the county’s positivity rate. In-person classes at the university ended at Thanksgiving break.

The rolling average of deaths statewide is now around 60 a day, a third more than the spring peak of around 40.

Monroe County has logged four deaths in the last four days bringing the total to 54 since the start of the pandemic.

The weekly press conference of local leaders on the local COVID-19 response takes place at 1:15 p.m. on Friday. It’s live-streamed on the city of Bloomington’s Facebook page.

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