Signature Healthcare at Parkwood on Grant Street in Lebanon has registered 37 cases of COVID-19 between staff and residents and four residents have died as a result of the coronavirus. Staff photo by Gus Pearcy | The Lebanon Reporter
Signature Healthcare at Parkwood on Grant Street in Lebanon has registered 37 cases of COVID-19 between staff and residents and four residents have died as a result of the coronavirus. Staff photo by Gus Pearcy | The Lebanon Reporter
Record-breaking COVID-19 cases in Indiana have come to Boone County. Signature Healthcare at Parkwood on Grant Street in Lebanon has 25 residents and 12 employees who have tested positive. Worse, the Boone County Health Department reports four residents have died because of the outbreak.

Spokeswoman for the department, Claire Haughton, said there is no way of knowing how the novel coronavirus got into the population. It could have something to do with opening up visitation after Indiana moved to Stage 5 of the reopening plan.

“They have been accepting visitors,” Haughton said. “But we don’t know if it came through a visitor or an employee. Honestly I doubt that we would ever know.”

A strike team from the Indiana State Department of Health will be working with Parkwood staff to provide testing and supplement mitigation efforts.

“I think another really big concern is COVID spreading to other long term care facilities,” Haughton said. “The folks in there are so vulnerable.”

With news about Parkwood, the current total number of deaths in Boone County is at 55. Only five deaths were outside a long-term care facility. Homewood Health Campus has suffered the most deaths at 22 with 46 confirmed cases. Parkwood has suffered nine deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The Hearth at Tudor Gardens and The Waters of Lebanon are tied for third most deaths in long-term care facilities at five apiece.

Parkwood also has had the most cases of COVID-19 among staff and residents with a staggering 64 cases. Homewood has had 46 cases.

The news exposes a troubling trend in Boone County.

Last week, Boone County broke a record of new COVID-19 cases with 73. Witham Hospital reports the number of COVID-19 patients has increased in the last two weeks.

Most were by community spread, Haughton said.

“(Community spread) is spread through your normal everyday activities,” she said.

Boone County has recorded 1,280 cases of COVID-19 since March. According to the ISDH county distributions dashboard, Boone County has a score of 1.5, moving it up one level in the metrics. It is the most of any surrounding county and equal to the spread of Marion County. The county is showing 104 cases based on the baseline population of 100,000 residents. That puts Boone County in the yellow or No. 2 category. Hamilton, Hendricks and Montgomery counties are at .5 and in the blue or lowest level of spread. Clinton County is also seeing an increase and in yellow, according to the chart on the ISDH website.

The only testing sites in Boone County are the Zionsville CVS and Witham Health Services. You must be showing symptoms or be a part of a high-risk group to get a test.

“I think the fact that people have to drive to another county, I think that can be a barrier,” Haughton said. “When we had testing in Lebanon, a lot of folks were very thankful they didn’t have to go very far.”

Indiana has been setting records recently with daily new COVID-19 cases. Tuesday’s count was 1,558. Last week, the state reported 2,491 cases on Friday and 2,297 on Thursday.

The health department encourages hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a face mask over the nose and mouth, social distancing and avoiding large crowds to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
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