ANDERSON — While it’s not getting any better, it’s not worse, for now.

Madison County’s COVID-19 status will remain at orange this week. The Indiana Department of Health uses three parameters to determine the color designation: the seven-day rolling average of positive cases, positivity rate of COVID tests and whether those metrics have increased or decreased from the week before.

“I know we’re tired, we’re just so tired of it, but we just have to be mindful of basic public health prevention practices — handwashing, distancing, masking,” said Stephenie Grimes, administrator of the Madison County Health Department.

“Stay home if you’re sick. Just don’t go anywhere, because it is a big problem if you find out you have COVID and you’ve been at work for a week and exposed everybody,” she said Tuesday.

The county office has COVID-19 rapid tests and its nurses have been trained in their use, but are awaiting the go-ahead from the state to start using them. Grimes expects that to come any day now.

Rapid tests are less sensitive and, therefore, only appropriate for someone who is symptomatic.

More mass drive-thru testing is scheduled for Dec. 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Pendleton Heights High School parking lot, Dec. 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Anderson and 1 to 3 p.m. at Beulah Park in Alexandria.

A third drive-thru, on Jan. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, will help gauge any Christmas surge.

The test is free, doesn’t require a doctor’s order and is available to anyone age 2 and older.

Meanwhile, there are several options to get a COVID-19 test, including the health department, the three community health centers operating in the county, MedCheck, MedExpress, CVS and the Optum/LHI test site in Elwood.

If people have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, they need to wait five to seven days after their last contact with them to be tested, Grimes said.

“It’s really important that if somebody comes in to get tested they should really just stay home until they get their results,” Grimes said.

The local health department’s vaccination plan was submitted to the state on Monday.

The first round of vaccinations could start this month and will be for health care workers and long-term care facilities.

Hospitals will handle the vaccinations of health care workers while CVS and Walgreens will take care of vaccinations in long-term care facilities as part of Operation Warp Speed.

The health department would be involved in the second round of vaccinations. The priority groups in that round will be determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the coming days, Grimes said.

Special freezers designed to store Pfizer’s vaccine at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit have been ordered and are expected to be delivered to the health department in January.

Follow Don Knight on Twitter @donwknight, or call 765-622-1212 ext. 204567.

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