(Richmond, IN)--The number of positive Covid-19 cases in Wayne County has risen to six. Christine Stinson, who is the executive director of the Wayne County Health Department, also told the county’s health board Thursday that the actual numbers are skewed by the ability to test. Reid Health has only 120-150 test kits available at any given time. Those tests right now are going mostly to people most at risk, first responders, and health care workers. There have been no further discussions about further limiting the number of customers allowed inside essential businesses like grocery stores, although Stinson did not rule that out if cases increase substantially.
(Richmond, IN)--The former General Manager of Richmond Power and Light has been charged with child molestation. On Friday morning, there was an active arrest warrant for 64-year-old Jim French. French has been charged with two counts of child molesting and two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. He is accused of improperly touching and fondling a 15-year-old girl while she slept. French began as the leader of RP&L in early 2013, but resigned abruptly a year and a half later. There were allegations of improper activity leading up to French’s resignation.
(Preble County, OH)--Preble County has had the largest increase in initial jobless claims in all of Ohio. Preble County’s jobless claims have risen an incredible 5756% from the week before. Denise Robertson, who is the president of the Preble County Board of Commissioners, said that the huge increase was fully predictable. The stay-at-home order has now been extended until May 1.
(Randolph County, IN)--Randolph County has issued restrictions on the number of people that can be in retail and grocery stores. As of Thursday night, no more than 10% of a store’s stated fire capacity can be inside the store at any given time. It’s up to staff at each store to count the number of customers entering and exiting, and to enforce the limits. Stores in Randolph County are also now required to establish exclusive hours for those in high-risk populations, including seniors.
(Brookville, IN)--There has been yet another local Covid-19 death. And, once again, it’s happened in hard-hit Franklin County. The most recent person to lose her battle with the virus is a female in her 70’s. She was admitted to an Indiana hospital on March 20 and then transferred to an Ohio hospital, where she died Wednesday. Franklin County now has 44 confirmed positive cases. The Whitewater Valley’s death toll now stands at eight. That includes six in Franklin County, one in Fayette, and one in Darke County.
(Richmond, IN)--There are now two more positive cases of Covid-19 for Wayne County residents, bringing the total number of positive cases to four. The Wayne County Health Department also disclosed Wednesday that one non-Wayne County resident who has now tested positive attended an event in Richmond on March 14 with more than 200 people. The Health Department did not disclose the event. That was the night of both the local Dancing with the Stars event and a Mardi Gras at the 4th Floor Blues Club. Health Department spokesperson Christine Stinson indicated that it’s difficult to say if that person was shedding the virus at that time. Local health officials also indicated Wednesday that there are more than four cases in Wayne County and that many of those cases are not being tested, but are instead being sent home to self-isolate.
(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health explained Wednesday why it changed its reporting data regarding Covid-19. After Reid reported earlier this week that 30 of 31 tests had come back negative, it also said those numbers could create a false sense of security. The hospital is now listing presumptive positives. A Reid spokesperson indicated that doctors there who have studied the cases say that the rate of false negatives could range from 20 to 40 percent. Late Wednesday afternoon, there were 23 lab-confirmed positives and 55 patients in containment areas.
(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health is now sharing its own data regarding Covid-19 due to the lag time in state-reported data. As of Tuesday afternoon, the data released by Reid will no longer include the number of negative test results as studies are showing a relatively high “false negative” outcome of testing. The new Reid figures include the number of lab-confirmed positive tests. That number is 23. It also includes the number of patients in containment areas. That number is 46. There have now been a total of 166 total tests submitted.
(Franklin County, IN)--The Whitewater Valley has had another Covid-19 death. It’s happened again in Franklin County. Health officials there announced that a man in his 70’s has died. He had been in the care of doctors at an Ohio hospital since March 22. His death becomes the fifth in Franklin County directly attributed to Covid-19. There have been two other local deaths – one in Fayette and one in Darke County.
(Whitewater Valley)--Here’s a look at current confirmed cases of Covid-19 by county of residence as of Wednesday morning. Numbers in parenthesis are from one week ago. Wayne 2, (1). Franklin, 38 (7). Fayette, 9 (3). Randolph, 3 (0). Henry, 1 (0). Union, 0 (0). Darke, 13 (1). Preble, 1 (0). Butler, 38 (18).
(Whitewater Valley)--The Whitewater Valley now has three more deaths directly attributable to Covid-19, bringing the total to six. In Fayette County, an 80-year-old man who had multiple underlying health conditions died at Reid Health Connersville. The man actually died there nearly two weeks ago, but test results now confirm the cause. A 76-year-old man who was a resident of Greenville Health and Rehabilitation in Darke County that had tested positive has now died. That facility alone has at least ten positive cases. The Darke County Health District cautioned that as the number of cases increases, they may see more fatalities. Franklin County officials received word Monday that a fourth person there has died. Details of that person’s death have not been released. Franklin County is part of a Covid-19 hotspot with now 28 confirmed cases.
(Richmond, IN)--Criminal charges are now being filed against people who violate the stay-at-home order in Wayne County. It’s happened at least twice now. RPD has not yet arrested anyone exclusively for violating the order. But, if they commit another crime and are out with no legitimate excuse, the charge is added. It happened early Tuesday morning when 43-year-old Crystal Beaty was stopped for operating while intoxicated on South West 5th. Along with OWI, Beaty is now charged with a stay-at-home violation. Arrested in a separate incident was 33-year-old Victor Sales. He faces a similar stay-at-home violation after allegedly driving at nearly five times the legal limit.
(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health received results on a series of Covid-19 tests Monday. The good news is that nearly all of those tests were negative. Of 31 new results, only one was positive. The other 30 of 31 tests that had been pending were negative. There are now 22 test results pending. Reid now has had a total of 99 tests come back with 11 of them positive, giving it an 11% positive rate.
(Brookville, IN)--The Whitewater Valley has now had its third Covid-19 death. One patient, who was a Franklin County man in his 80’s, had been a patient at an Ohio hospital for the last ten days. Officials received word of the third death Sunday. Franklin County continues to have far and away more cases than most other area counties. According to the state’s website, Franklin County now has 26 positives. Ten patients who had been on in-home quarantine have been released, including a family of four where both parents tested positive. It also includes four employees of a health care facility. One tested positive and has since recovered.
(Whitewater Valley)--Preble County now has its first positive case of Covid-19. Preble County health officials were notified of the positive test over the weekend. The patient is 69 years old. Here are the numbers for other counties according to Indiana and Ohio state websites. Wayne County is still listed as having one case. There are five in Fayette County, two in Randolph, one in Henry, and 26 in Franklin County. Darke County has 12 and Butler County has 27. Union County is now the only county in the Whitewater Valley without a Covid-19 case.
(Franklin County, IN)--Part of our area has been labeled a “hotspot” by state health officials for Covid-19. Franklin County now has 26 positive cases. That’s an increase of six since Friday. Those cases, combined with another 59 in Ripley and Decatur County, give that three-county region more cases per capita than not just Indiana, but the entire Midwest. The state average for positive tests is 15%. But, in that three-county area, the tests are coming back at more than 30%.
(Richmond, IN)--Catching up on some non-Covid-19 news…winter has been over now for a little more than a week, and this will go down as one of Richmond’s mildest winters ever. Check out these numbers. Over the 91-day winter, Richmond had below-normal temperatures on just 16 of 91 days. On average, we were seven degrees over normal every day. There was only a total of 12 inches of snow. The coldest temperature of the winter in Richmond was ten degrees. That came on Valentine’s Day.
(Wayne County, IN)--New numbers show the staggering effect of Covid-19 and the subsequent stay-in-place orders on the Wayne County economy. In an average week, even as recently as last month, Wayne County averages about 20 new jobless claims per week. Twenty. Two weeks ago, there were 22 jobless claims filed. Last week, there were 623 new jobless claims filed. That number also represents a 5100% increase from the same week last year. Other area counties have seen similar increases. Fayette, Randolph, and Franklin County have all gone from around 15 claims in a week to an average of 150 last week.
(Fountain City, IN)--Northeastern Wayne School Superintendent Laura Blessing appears to be looking to get out. Blessing is one of seven finalists to be the new superintendent at Miamisburg. The time frame for the hiring has been pushed back due to Covid-19. Meanwhile, Northeastern’s assistant superintendent is still the subject of a pending criminal investigation. That investigation is being handled by the Indiana State Police. Two school board members have resigned in the last two weeks. The resignations of Kristin Lumpkin and Eric Fields were approved this week by the remaining three Northeastern Board members. No reason for the resignations was provided. Replacements for both Lumpkin and Fields are now being sought.
(Richmond, IN)--Employees of the Sunshine Café on National Road West in Richmond indicated Thursday that the restaurant has closed permanently. Those employees said that they were told of the closure early this week but did not provide a specific reason for the closure. Sunshine Café had operated for decades and was known largely as an overnight place to eat. Sunshine Café’s general manager did not return a message Thursday.