Bartholomew County flagged in state COVID-19 spread map

The COVID-19 outbreak at the Bartholomew County Jail has given the county an unwanted designation by the state of Indiana. It has been flagged as one of two counties in the state with a large number of COVID-19 weekly cases being attributable to congregate settings.

Congregate settings are locations where people live, meet or gather in close proximity and can include homeless shelters, group homes, prisons, detention centers, schools and workplaces.

Bartholomew County joined Orange County as the only counties currently in that category. Local health officials have not heard specifically from the state about the flag, but believe it is because of the recent outbreak at the jail and at Hickory Creek, a local extended care facility.

Last week, the sheriff announced that nearly half of the jail’s inmates had tested positive for COVID-19.

Early in January, Brown County received the same flag after a surge in cases centered around Helmsburg Elementary School.

In Tuesday afternoon’s update to the state’s COVID-19 figures, Bartholomew County had 23 new cases and three new deaths with a 7-day positivity rate of 18.6 percent, just over 10 percentage points higher than the statewide average of 8.1 percent. Since the start of the pandemic in March, Bartholomew County has had 6,877 positive tests and 107 deaths.