PRINCETON — Gibson County Health Department Wednesday confirmed a third local COVID-19 related fatality. The heath department reported the third fatality was a person in their 60s.

Indiana State Health Department reported 189 total cases here since early March. Among 2,996 tests reported to the state, the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 6.3%, the agency confirmed Wednesday.

Statewide, ISDH Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box reported 64,299 COVID-19 cases since early March and 2,733 deaths among 724,238 tests for a positivity rate of 8.9%.

Box said the health department will begin adding daily county-by-county COVID-19 positivity rates to its website at www.coronavirus.in.gov to help track the prevalence of the virus across the state.

She also reported that grants are available to local health departments for increased testing.

Box said ISDH will also add data on the number of tests, in addition to the number of people tested. The current data reflects the number of people tested, not the number of tests a person might take, she emphasized.

Box reported that statewide, contact tracers reached nearly 80% of the people they attempted to notify in July. She said the data also means that about 20% of the people who are COVID-19 positive are not responsive to the contact tracers.

“I cannot express enough how valuable contact tracing is,” she said, reporting at least 75 cases were traced to camps, family reunions and other gatherings. She said at least 11 cases were traced to two bachelor parties in southern Indiana, and up to 60 people were exposed to a case at a prom.

“Having people willing to tell us where they were and who they were with, when they were ill, significantly helps reduce spread of Covid,” she said.

In this area, Knox County reports 118 cases among 2,720 tests; Daviess County 221 cases and 19 deaths among 2,634 tests; Dubois County 581 cases and 10 deaths among 4,712 tests; Pike County 30 cases among 877 tests; Warrick County 446 cases and 29 deaths among 6,934 tests; Vanderburgh County 1,529 cases and eight deaths among 24,352 tests; and Posey County 150 cases among 2,166 tests.

In Southeastern Illinois counties, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports seven cases in Edwards County, 11 cases in Richland County, 13 cases in Hamilton County, 26 cases in Wabash County, 30 cases in Crawford County, 32 cases and one death in Wayne County, 38 cases in Lawrence County, 39 cases in Gallatin county, 49 cases in White County and 83 cases in Saline County.

Remaining at 4.5

During a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, Gov. Eric Holcomb said the Back On Track Indiana plan will remain in stage 4.5 through Aug. 27. The governor also announced that a moratorium on evictions from rental properties and prohibition on filing foreclosures is extended through Aug. 14.

State officials said a rental assistance program remains available to renters who have lost income in the pandemic. Payments are made directly to landlords. Applications are available at www.indianahousingnow.org for rental assistance, and homeowners who need mortgage assistance can phone 877-GET-HOPE.

A deadline for application for energy assistance is July 31. Hoosiers can visit eap.ihcda.in.gov or call 2-1-1.

Email Andrea Howe at andrea@pdclarion.com

— Email Andrea Howe at andrea@pdclarion.com

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