The Tipton County Health Department says the county is currently experiencing an “outbreak” of COVID-19 and is asking residents to do their part in reducing the spread of the virus.
The county has seen its cumulative positive tests increase by nearly 100 in a month’s time, from 35 on July 13 to 126 as of Tuesday, according to the Indiana Department of Health. That’s an increase of 260%. Of those cases, 19 positive tests were reported on Monday and Tuesday.
The Tribune reported late last month that Miller’s Merry Manor in Tipton had reported an outbreak of COVID-19 in its facility, where dozens of residents and employees were found to have the virus.
But the county health department, in a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon, said the outbreak at the long-term care facility doesn’t account for all of the new cases of COVID-19 in the county and reminded residents to wear masks and social distance when warranted.
“Currently, Tipton County is seeing an outbreak of individuals who are COVID-19 positive,” the Facebook post stated. “While it is true many of these individuals reside in a long-term care facility, not everyone who has tested positive over the last 2-3 weeks lives there.
“The remaining individuals who are positive are members of our community. They may have attended a family gathering, gone to the grocery store, gone on vacation, traveled out of county, etc.
“Most people do not anticipate contracting COVID-19, while simply ‘living their lives,’ nor do they intend to spread it, but unfortunately the trickle-down effect is real. Our numbers of COVID-19 positive individuals will only go up if we don’t take care of ourselves and, in turn, take care of each other.
“We are in a pandemic. That is an indisputable fact. There are many unknowns right now, such as the actual death rate. ...”
The county’s 14.8% seven-day positivity rate is currently fourth highest in the state, though the high percentage may be due in part to the Miller’s Merry Manor outbreak.
Testing of Tipton County residents has increased in the last week or so. For much of the pandemic, the county was seeing daily testing numbers in the teens, but now the county’s seven-day average is around 25 per day, the highest it’s ever been. Just over 1,400 of the county’s roughly 15,000 residents have been tested. A total of six residents have died due to COVID – most happening within the last two weeks.
Tipton Mayor Tom Dolezal called the county’s high seven-day positivity rating a “wake-up call” for small rural communities like Tipton.
“We were patting ourselves on the back,” Dolezal told WISH-TV. “I think we may have been lulled into believing that it was something that was going to pass over small-town America, but I think our numbers here within the last couple of weeks have shown we’re not exempted from the issue.”