COVID-19

Howard County has dropped from orange to yellow on the state of Indiana’s COVID-19 color-coded advisory level, bringing with it a loosening of social gathering restrictions.

Social gatherings at event venues can now be held at 50% capacity, up from the 25% capacity allowed in the orange level, the designation the county found itself in for several weeks.

Gatherings and events must still submit safety plans detailing the number of people or staff invited, or expected to the local health department. Plans must include mitigation facts, such as occupancy and capacity information, COVID-19 screening measures, social distancing, face coverings and increased sanitation.

Yellow indicates “moderate community spread,” according to the state. It’s one above blue, the lowest designation. Orange is the second highest designation, with the highest being red.

Indiana’s metric system bases new cases on a per-100,000-population basis and a county’s seven-day all tests positivity rate. Howard County’s weekly COVID cases per 100,000 residents is currently 70 weekly cases and its seven-day all tests positivity rate is 5.1%, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The county’s daily average of positive COVID cases has dropped significantly since December and January when county officials voluntarily moved the county to red status.

On Jan. 10, the county’s seven-day average was 92 cases a day. As of Wednesday, that has dropped down to six.

Vaccination efforts in the county are remaining steady.

As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, 10,478 county residents have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That number has nearly doubled since the beginning of the month.

As of Wednesday, 4,578 county residents have received their second dose and are now fully vaccinated.

“We’re in a pretty good position,” Paul Wyman, county commissioner, said in an interview on Z92.5 Wednesday morning. “If everyone keeps doing what we’re doing — be smart, stay distant, do the different things to keep the spread slow while we get the vaccines out — the more we all continue to work together on that, the faster we can get to the other side.”

Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at tyler.juranovich@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich

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