ANDERSON – A local health official on Tuesday called the decline in the number of new coronavirus cases in the county “incredible” while cautioning that a surge of positive tests is likely.

The Indiana State Department of Health reported no new cases in Madison County, and for the fourth consecutive day no new deaths from the disease were reported in the county.

The number of positive cases in the county stood Tuesday at 582 with 3,990 county residents having been tested, according to the state health department.

Stephenie Grimes, administrator of the county health department, said in the past four days the county has experienced only six new positive cases.

“I think that’s significant,” she said. “It’s incredible. With the increased testing, I expected to see an increase in positive cases.”

The health department started testing local residents May 18.

“I expect to see an increase with more testing,” Grimes said. “I hope it is not a lot. The hope is the increase in positive cases is a result of the testing and not a spreading of the virus.”

According to the state’s website, 90% of those who’ve died of COVID-19 in Madison County are over the age of 60. People age 30-59 have accounted for the remainder of the deaths.

The state health department reported Tuesday 18 new deaths in Indiana of COVID-19, bringing the total of confirmed deaths to 1,850. Additionally, 152 Hoosiers are presumed to have died as a result of the virus.

Of those who have died from the coronavirus in Indiana since March, nearly 50% were living in long-term care or correctional facilities.

Madison County, with 62 deaths, ranks seventh in Indiana in the number of COVID-19 fatalities. Marion County has reported 539 deaths, followed by Lake County with 168, Johnson County with 104, Hamilton County with 92, Hendricks County with 67 and Allen County with 66.

The Indiana Department of Correction reported Tuesday that 72 staff members at the Pendleton Correctional Facility and juvenile facility have tested positive. That was an increase of 28 from the previous 24 hours.

The two Pendleton facilities are showing 59 offenders in isolation and 90 who have tested positive.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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