Boone County reports its first COVID-19 deaths

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The Boone County Health Dept. in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana State Dept. of Health confirmed the county’s second COVID-19 death today.

On Tuesday, the county reported its first COVID-19 death. Both people were at least 60 years old, but health officials said they couldn’t report any other details about the people.

The deaths come after an increase in testing and reported cases of COVID-19, the disease stemming from the new coronavirus, around the state. Boone County has reported 76 cases of COVID-19 so far, and 374 tests have been administered in the county to date.

Boone County Public Health Educator Claire Haughton said the county expected to receive news of a death related to the disease at some point during the pandemic.

“People who are in that 60-plus age group and also those with pre-existing conditions, we already knew they were going to be hit particularly hard by COVID-19,” Haughton said. “We knew it was going to happen. We’ve known for a while that there was going to be an uptick in cases because testing is becoming more available.”

State officials have, through the ISDH and independent labs, increased the maximum number of tests it can perform to close to 3,700 a day, and they hope to increase that number soon. But, as of this time, tests are still administered predominantly to symptomatic medical professionals and first responders and people with severe symptoms. Haughton said there still aren’t enough tests for everyone to receive them.

Epidemiological models have predicted upcoming weeks will bring a surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths, Haughton said.

She said this means it is still important for residents to stay at home as directed by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

And if residents must go outside for essential business, Haughton said the BCHD recommends they cover their face with a mask, a precaution first recommended by the CDC earlier this week. The BCHD still encourages residents to donate any surgical masks to local hospitals and healthcare workers. Instead, Haughton said residents could use masks made from 100 percent cotton – but if a person doesn’t have access to the materials needed to make such a mask, she said any facial covering will be better than nothing.

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