ANDERSON — Madison County is experiencing a spike in the number of younger adults testing positive for the coronavirus.

The county has reported 22 new positive test results in the past seven days, significantly lower than reported by surrounding counties.

The Indiana State Department of Health website is reporting that neighboring Henry County reported 43 positive cases of the virus from the period of June 29 through July 5.

According to data from the state, the recent spike in cases in Henry County represents 16% of the positive 274 coronavirus cases in the county.

Howard County reported 39 new positive cases for the same time frame as reported by the state. The number for the past seven days is 7% of the 577 positive cases in that county.

Stephenie Grimes, administrator of the Madison County Health Department, said Wednesday that there have been 38 new positive cases in this county since June 22.

“There are several factors,” she said of the number of cases. “The loosening of restrictions is causing us to see an increase. ... We’re testing more.”

Since mid-May, the local health department has tested more than 500 people for the novel coronavirus.

“There have been a lot of people traveling,” Grimes said. “A lot of them went to Florida, which is experiencing a spike in cases.”

The biggest increase in positive cases by age group for local residents is between the ages of 20 and 29, she said.

“The younger people are being tested as a result of contact with an infected person,” Grimes said. “We had three generations of one family test positive.”

The death rate from the coronavirus continues to be in the 10% range with 69 deaths of the approximately 700 people tested.

“The virus knows no boundaries,” Grimes said.

Most of the deaths in Madison County have taken place in long-term care facilities.

“There were people concerned about the July 4th holiday,” she said. “I wasn’t as concerned because most of the activities are outdoors.”

The health department will be closely monitoring the number of cases when the local school systems begin classes at the end of the month.

“As we go into the fall, people will be together indoors,” Grimes said. “We will address the situation as it develops to prepare for the fall and winter.”

Delaware and Madison counties both reported 22 new positive cases of the virus between June 29 and July 5.

The 22 newest cases reported in Madison County are 3% of the 659 positive cases; for Delaware County, those are 5% of the 445 cases that have been reported.

Grimes said the spikes in Henry and Howard counties could be a result of their distance from Indianapolis and Marion County.

“We saw spikes in March and April,” she said. “It may have taken a little longer to reach those communities.”

Grimes said Madison County is holding steady in terms of new positive cases over the past few weeks.

“We continue to stress the three protocols of frequent hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks in public,” she said.

Both local hospitals in Anderson are “looking great” in terms of capacity, Grimes said.

She said the patients on ventilators are not COVID-19 patients.

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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