The following COVID-19 update is brought to you through a collaboration of healthcare partners including Delaware County Health Department, Delaware County Emergency Management Agency, Delaware County Office of Information, and other major healthcare providers. Delaware County weekly COVID-19 updates are released every Thursday and include information from the Indiana State Department of Health county metrics dashboard, which is updated every Wednesday afternoon.
“I am excited to see the eligibility be completely opened this week to all Indiana residents 16 years of age and over,” said Brian Reed, director of transformation at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. “I hope it will reduce confusion or frustration about having to wait to receive a vaccine.”
The eligibility opened to everyone 16 and older on Wednesday this week, making the COVID-19 vaccines widely accessible to all adult Hoosiers. As of April 1, 20,248 Delaware County residents are fully vaccinated, which equates to nearly 18% of the population.
“I hope more and more people will continue to be vaccinated and share their stories with family and friends,” Reed said. Those interested in sharing their vaccination story can do so by visiting IVaccinateForThem.com or by using #IVaccinateForThem on social media.
The vaccines have already had a noticeable impact on school systems. With vaccines now open to everyone 16 and older, Muncie Community Schools hopes the positive effect will only grow.
“Thanks to our community health organizations, we’ve been able to partner on vaccination clinics for our teachers and staff,” said Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, CEO/director of public education at MCS. “As a result, we have not had one positive case for a teacher or staff member all month, and we’re hopeful that continues.”
According to a fact sheet distributed by the Indiana State Department of Health, children often have milder symptoms and cases of COVID-19, but they can still be “silent spreaders,” especially in a school setting.
“Unvaccinated students run the risk of unknowingly transmitting COVID-19 to older teachers, coaches and staff at risk of more severe disease,” the fact sheet said.
There are currently three vaccines available in the United States — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — but only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently approved for those under the age of 18. Parents must register and give consent for their 16- or 17-year-old to become vaccinated. To register, visit ourshot.IN.gov or call 211.
Once fully vaccinated, a person can gather inside without masks with other vaccinated people, as well as with unvaccinated people from one other household (unless any member of that household is deemed high-risk for severe illness). An individual is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after receiving either the single-dose Johnson & Jonson vaccine or the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
Safety precautions should still be practiced in public and at school, health officials say.
“We still have a long way to go,” Reed said. “Until more of us are vaccinated, it will be important to continue being safe by wearing masks, distancing and washing our hands.”
LOCAL COVID-19 COVERAGE:
A couple of counties in Indiana are already experiencing another spike in cases. A few weeks ago, the whole state was mostly blue with some yellow counties on the Indiana State Department of Health’s county metrics map. Now, however, there are two orange counties: Blackford and Wells.
Delaware County remains blue, reporting 82 new cases and 0 new deaths since March 25. The county’s 7- day positivity rate is 5%. As of March 31, IU Health Ball Memorial is treating 7 confirmed cases, Delaware County residents.
For additional updates on vaccine information in Delaware County, visit OurShotDelawareCounty.org.
For those who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, health officials encourage continued diligence on testing and quarantining. Both rapid and standard tests are available throughout the county. For more information on testing locations and case numbers in Delaware County, visit dcema.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do once I am fully vaccinated?
Fully vaccinated individuals are permitted to gather indoors without masks with other vaccinated individuals or with low-risk, unvaccinated individuals from one other household.
If you are fully vaccinated, you should still wear a mask and practice social distancing in public. You should continue to avoid medium or large indoor gatherings, and you should continue to avoid traveling
Who is currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
As of March 31, the following Indiana residents are eligible to receive a vaccine:
- Anyone age 16 or older
- Healthcare workers
- First responders
- Patients at highest risk of severe illness (visit coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine for a complete list). These individuals will receive a unique registration link by text or email, or may call 211 after receiving the notification.
- Educators and support staff
Those who are eligible for the vaccine will be notified via postal mail from the state, as well as through additional communications efforts. Eligibility information will also be shared online at ourshot.IN.gov as updates become available.
How do I get vaccinated for COVID-19?
Individuals can schedule online or by phone. There is no charge for the vaccination.
To schedule online:
- Visit ourshot.IN.gov and follow the instructions to find a vaccine site.
- The site will ask questions to make sure you meet criteria.
- A map will display vaccination sites closest to you.
- Choose a site and register for a date and time.
To schedule by phone:
- For those unable to register online, call 211 to register by phone. The call center is open daily 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
Other notes of importance:
- Registering another individual on their behalf is permitted. Parents must register their children who are 16 or 17 years of age.
- The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently the only vaccine approved for those under 18. When scheduling an appointment for someone under 18, please ensure the chosen vaccination site carries the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Learn more about scheduling appointments for minors here.
- Transportation assistance can be requested by calling 211.
- Citizenship is not required for vaccination, and citizenship information is not collected.
- Photo ID may be required at the time of vaccination.
Local vaccination information can be found at OurShotDelawareCounty.org.
The Health Department has also released a document that addresses common myths and misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Muncie Public Library is offering assistance to those who need help booking a vaccination appointment online. Call 765-747-8200 between the hours of 1 and 5 p.m. any day to schedule an appointment at any of MPL’s locations to gain access to a computer. Library staff will assist in using safety procedures developed due to the pandemic.
Open Door Health Services has opened walk-up, neighborhood-based vaccination clinics with no preregistration necessary. Upcoming events are listed at opendoorhs.org/covidvaccine. These events are open to any eligible Hoosier; supplies are limited.
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?
There are currently three vaccines approved for emergency use in the Unites States: the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine was proven to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19, and the Moderna vaccine 94.1% effective. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was shown to be 66% effective in preventing infection and 85% effective in preventing serious illness. All three vaccines were shown to be 100% effective in preventing hospitalization or death as a result of COVID-19.
I got tested for COVID-19. Now what?
Individuals who get tested because they have symptoms should quarantine after their test until they receive their results. If the test is positive, they must continue to isolate. Isolation can end after ALL of the following have occurred:
- 10 days have passed since onset of symptoms.
- If fever was a symptom, 24 hours have passed with no fever, without use of fever-reducing drugs.
- Other symptoms are improving. (However, loss of taste/smell may persist and does not to be factored into this requirement.)
However, a person who has tested positive should follow their health-care provider’s advice on when to end isolation.
The official recommendation for quarantine of someone identified as a close contact remains at 14 days. The CDC has announced options for shortening this timeframe to 10 or even possibly seven days, if certain criteria are met. We suggest these options only be considered for use by individuals who would fall under the CDC guidelines for “Critical Infrastructure.” Employers retain the ability to, and are recommended to, require 14-day quarantine of any potentially exposed staff members. The seven- and 10-day options, in summary:
- Quarantine can end after day 10 without testing and if NO symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
- When testing is readily available, quarantine can end as early as day 7 with a negative test result; HOWEVER, the test can be conducted no earlier than day 5 of the quarantine period.
In either situation, after stopping quarantine, people should
- Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
- If they have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact their local public health authority or healthcare provider, as well as their employer if necessary.
- Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash their hands, and avoid crowds.
Again, the standing recommendation for quarantine of close contacts remains at 14 days. For more information, please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine or cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.
What is a “close contact”?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition of “close contact” includes the following:
- You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more, with or without masks. (This is 15 total minutes over the course of 24 hours. E.g., three five-minute periods of time throughout one day would count as close contact.)
- You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them).
- You shared eating or drinking utensils.
- They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.
Anyone who tests positive should proactively seek to notify anyone they have had close contact with, as far back as 48 hours before their symptom onset. Positive individuals should also cooperate with any contact tracing calls they receive from the state, so that state contact tracers can also document and notify close contacts of their need to quarantine.
Should I/my child get tested for COVID-19 even if only mild cold-like symptoms, like a runny nose, are present?
Anyone experiencing symptoms of illness should isolate at home to avoid the risk of spreading illness to others. With the improved availability of testing, DCHD would further recommend testing to any such individual. Additional information concerning when you can return to work and what to do if your test is positive is available for review at cdc.gov.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People who have COVID-19 may exhibit any range of these symptoms, and some may even show no symptoms at all. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus. Some symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Anyone with these symptoms should stay home as much as possible and limit their exposure to others. Children who have any of the above symptoms should be kept home from school. For more information, read the Indiana State Department of Health’s guidelines for returning to school.
Families with children in school can find additional information and resources at educationsupporthub.com.
What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19?
If you have any of the above symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should immediately begin to self-quarantine to prevent spreading the disease to others. You should also call a local health clinic to arrange to be tested. Follow your doctor’s orders and continue to self-quarantine until you receive negative test results.
Children who exhibit any of the above symptoms should NOT be sent to school. If your child shows any of the listed symptoms, keep the child home in quarantine and contact your healthcare provider for further guidance. Families with children in school can find additional information and resources at educationsupporthub.com.
Where can I get tested?
Several local health clinics offer COVID-19 tests, including Meridian Health Services, Open Door Health Services, and more.
Open Door offers free community tests for individuals with or without symptoms, made available through a partnership with the Delaware County Health Department. Those who wish to get tested are required to register online in advance at opendoorhs.org/testing. These tests are available at Open Door’s 333 S. Madison Street location and at Worthen Arena at Ball State University. Open Door also offers rapid tests during patient visits; non-Open Door patients can receive a rapid test at Open Door Urgent Care on East 29th Street.
For a complete list of testing locations in Delaware County, visit the Delaware County Indiana Coronavirus Hub. Be advised that some locations may test only those who exhibit symptoms of COVID19.
Staying safe from COVID-19
To keep yourself safe from COVID-19 and to reduce the spread of the disease, wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, wear a mask when inside public spaces and when in crowded areas and practice social distancing.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who tested positive, schedule an appointment to get tested as soon as possible. Self-quarantine until you have received negative test results. A list of testing locations can be found on the Delaware County Indiana Coronavirus hub.
In accordance with the governor’s latest executive order, events can now occur with attendance potentially as high as 100% of a venue’s capacity or up to 250 people, following submission of an event safety plan to the local health department and subsequent approval. Mask use and distancing requirements remain.