“Wearying.”  That is a word that was shared with me recently to describe the world’s 2020 experience with COVID-19.  I thought this an aptly descriptive term for the journey we are on together.  You may not know, but this word actually has two definitions.  The first meaning, and the one that usually comes to mind, is simply “tiring” in that it causes fatigue.  The second, and more insightful I think, is “ready to be done with”.  I don’t know about you, but emotionally I am “ready to be done with” COVID-19, though mentally I know the end is still some way off…

Today, Indiana reached a new high in daily positive COVID-19 cases at 1,253.  To put this in perspective, at the high point of the pandemic in April, the average number of daily new cases was just under 700.  Though this high number of cases is troubling, it is important to place it in perspective.  Thanks to increased testing in our state, we now test roughly triple (12,000 per day) the number of people each day than we did in April, and the majority (73%) of this testing is for individuals under the age of 60.  Not surprisingly, the majority (75%) of positive results is also for those under age 60, who generally have good outcomes following an infection.  This is supported by the fact that the trends for COVID-related deaths remain low and stable and the trend for hospital admissions is roughly half that in April.

At the local level, the number of new cases in Hancock County remains low (though slightly higher than a few months ago), just two deaths have been reported in the county in the last six weeks, and it is becoming somewhat uncommon to have patients admitted to our hospital for a COVID-19 infection.

While we are blessed to be in Hancock County during this pandemic, it is important to remember that not all regions of the country, or even our state, have had such exceptional experiences.  In order to retain our favorable experience, it is absolutely imperative that we continually practice the simple, but highly effective, public health approaches that should now be part and parcel of our daily routines: watching our distance, wearing our masks, and washing our hands.

Please use these days of wonderful weather to get outside, spend time (safely) with family and friends, and take advantage of opportunities to refresh and reinvigorate yourself.  This is not a sprint, it is a marathon and I am certain we will, together, make it to the end!

-Steve Long