LAFAYETTE, Ind. – With Greater Lafayette public schools welcoming students back on campuses, most with mask mandates in place, the Tippecanoe County Health Department noted Wednesday a rise in quarantines among students, faculty and staff.
“With local K-12 schools back in session, the health department is tracking COVID-19 infections among students and school staff,” Tippecanoe County Health Department stated Wednesday in a Facebook post.
“The infections have resulted in a significant number of quarantines in some schools. The health department continues to advocate for mandatory masks in all local schools. Masks are necessary to protect the health and safety of students and school staff and to keep schools open for in-person learning.”
The Tippecanoe School Corp. board kept masks as optional in its district’s opening plan. In West Lafayette and Lafayette schools, masks are required.
The highly contagious Delta variant remains the utmost concern, as well as the rate of COVID-19 infections among the unvaccinated.
“The majority of new COVID-19 infections across the U.S. are occurring in unvaccinated people. The same is happening here in Tippecanoe County,” the health department stated. “Between May 10 and July 31, there were 1,284 COVID-19 cases in unvaccinated individuals, compared to 186 cases in vaccinated people.”
As of Tuesday, according to the Indiana State Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard, 72 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Tippecanoe County hospitals, with 20% of the ICU beds devoted to COVID-19 patients; 22.4% of the 85 ICU beds are still available.
“Local hospitals are strained and are now limiting elective procedures to meet increased demand,” the county health department added in the Facebook post.
Three of the 60 ventilators available — 5% — are being used for COVID-19 patients, the dashboard reported.
The dashboard also reported 104 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in Tippecanoe County children. MIS-C — a serious condition the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is associated with COVID-19 — affects various body parts that can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs.
The instances of MIS-C in the county have been recorded mostly in males — almost two to one — than females. The infection rate among boys is 63.5%.
The CDC ranks Tippecanoe County as an area of high community transmission, the health department stated.