COVID-19 Numbers Increasing In Lawrence County

(BEDFORD) – The State of Indiana has surpassed 69,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“It is spreading through Lawrence County at a horrific rate,” Emergency Management Director Valarie Luchauer told the commissioners this morning. “It’s in every business, every township. The person right next to you at Walmart, JayC or the post office could have it or don’t know they have it …. and then you have those that don’t believe in wearing masks. It is not getting better, it is getting worse.”

Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer

A total of 2,794 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 14 over the previous day. Another 202 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record.

In Lawrence County 331 residents have the virus, 27 have died, 4,492 have been tested. Lawrence County has a 7-day positivity rate of 6.4 percent as of July 28, 2020.

Today an additional 836 Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. That brings to the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus to 69,255.

Luchauer publicly thanked Vice President of Seals Ambulance Tony Anteau for providing ambulance services before their contract takes effect in September.

“We would have been in dire shape if not for Seals,” said Luchauer. “On Monday, we had 48 requests for service that is over double what we normally see. At one point we had three calls at one time. IU Health also stepped up and added extra trucks.”

Luchauer also asked permission to use the training room at Dunn Plaza for future training sessions and reported she gave a safety talk on COVID-19 to South Central Visually Impaired.

In other business:

The commissioners approved a request by Larry Parsons and Greg Pittman to subdivide a large lot at Stonecrest Golf Courts into six smaller lots.

The commissioners approved the renewal of the Centrex contract to provide telephone service for fax lines in county offices. The contract was extended for 36 months at a cost of $337.57 a month.

The commissioners renewed the 3-year lease agreement with Ascension St. Vincent Dunn.

The commissioners approved the appointment of Vicky Schlegel to the Mitchell Community Library Board.

The commissioners approved Human Resources Manager Brian Skillman’s request to amend the Lawrence County employee COVID-19 policy.

Sheriff Mike Branham reported there were 140 inmates in the Lawrence County Jail this morning. Of those, 110 were males, 30 females, one level 6 felon, five Department of Correction hold and no parole violators.

Sheriff Mike Branham

The average length of stay is 27.1 days and it costs the county $55 a day to house an inmate.

At this same time last year the average population was 160 inmates.

“We are still below, but every week we are closing that gap,” said Sheriff Branham. “The average length of stay is a key factor for jail crowding.”

Sheriff Branham reported work on the upper-level ramp at the jail is complete. Work will begin on the lower level Wednesday.

Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported crews are mowing, cutting brush and working on repairing washouts from recent rains.

Highway Superintendent David Holmes

Work on Bridge 150 is back on schedule. Officials hit a snag regarding the replacement of the historical bridge on Mill Creek Road.

“We lost 3 months but we are back on schedule and moving forward,” Holmes added.

Holmes plans to place Bridge 172 on Cement Plant Road or Slaughterhouse Road into the Federal Aid Project this fall, but before Holmes can seek federal funding an alternative analysis must be completed. Holmes has hired Jacobi, Toombs & Lanz to complete that analysis for $9,995. The money will be paid out of the department’s budget.