Due to climbing local COVID-19 cases, Mayor Scott Long announced at Monday’s Wabash City Council meeting that the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and the city of Wabash have opened a free drive-thru clinic for COVID-19 testing.

The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Saturday, and also from Tuesday, Nov. 3 to Saturday, Nov. 7 at 1360 Manchester Ave.

Testing will be available to all members of the public regardless of symptoms. Children as young as 2 years of age can be tested with parental consent.

“Hoosiers will not be charged for testing and insurance is not required. If you have private health insurance, please bring that information with you,” said Long.

During the most recent by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), Wabash County’s weekly score was elevated from yellow to orange, the second-highest designation. The latest results are as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. The county metrics map is updated at midnight Wednesdays and reflects data through the previous Sunday.

Also on Monday, Long said he had decided to keep the doors of City Hall locked and all business will be conducted by appointment only until further notice.

Long said all city meetings will be either in person with social distancing or by Zoom meeting remotely.

Long said masks will be mandatory to enter the building and must remain in place while conducting business.

“From March 27 with Wabash County reported its first COVID-19 positive case until Sept. 30 when we reported our 276th case, I believe we were doing well locally. From Oct. 1 until (Sunday, Oct. 25), we have had 163 positive cases reported. I am taking this step to protect the employees of City Hall and the citizens who are transacting business here,” said Long.

For more information, email mayor@cityof wabash.com

Halloween changes

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Dr. David G. Roe, Wabash County health officer, said the Wabash County Board of Health was now discouraging mass gatherings where social distancing can not be followed.

On Monday, Oct. 26, Anne Gregory, Anne Gregory, assistant director of media relations in the Office of Strategic Communications at Manchester University, said the Monster Mash trick-or-treat planned for Saturday, Oct. 31 at Manchester University had been canceled.

Roe offered the following tips for those who do choose to still participate in Halloween events:

Wash or sanitize your hands often.

Clean frequently touched items.

Avoid close contact. Stay at least six feet away from all people who are not a part of your household.

Avoid spaces that don’t allow for the distancing of at least six feet between you and others.

Be sure to correctly wear face-covering when outside around others.

“A Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. The department also suggests not wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume makes it hard to breathe,” said Roe.

School figures

The ISDH’s latest school dashboard results are as of 11:59 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 and were updated Monday, Oct. 26. The dashboard is updated weekly at midnight Mondays.

Statewide, 562 schools reported no cases, 1,314 reported one or more case and 490 have not reported.

During the latest update, Wabash County schools with one or more confirmed cases included:

Manchester Jr./Sr. High School (MHS) reported fewer than five new student positive cases, six total student positive cases and fewer than five total staff positive cases.

Manchester Elementary School (MES) reported fewer than five total student positive cases.

Manchester Intermediate Schools (MIS) reported fewer than five each new student positive cases and total student positive cases.

Metro North Elementary School reported fewer than five total student positive cases.

Sharp Creek Elementary School reported fewer than five each new staff positive cases and total staff positive cases.

Northfield Jr./Sr. High School (NHS) reported fewer than five each new staff positive cases, total new student positive cases and total staff positive cases.

Southwood Jr./Sr. High School (SHS) reported fewer than five each new student positive cases and total student positive cases.

On the Manchester Community Schools’ (MCS) own dashboard the information is updated once contact tracing is complete and all close contacts have been notified. MCS defines close contact is when an individual is within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes of someone with confirmed COVID-19.

“The Wabash County Health Department determined close contacts in conjunction with school personnel and advised us who to quarantine,” stated MCS.

The individually reported MCS cases include:

Sept. 28: One case each at MES and MHS, with five people quarantined.

Oct. 10: One case at MHS, with one person quarantined.

Oct. 14: One case at MHS, with two people quarantined.

Oct. 15: One case at MES, with five people quarantined. And one case at MHS, with two people quarantined.

Oct. 16: One case at MHS, with 34 people quarantined.

Oct. 20: One case at MHS, with no additional people quarantined.

Oct. 21: One case at MIS, with one person quarantined.

Schools of higher learning are not listed on the ISDH schools dashboard. However, Manchester University maintains its own, separate dashboard.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 20, the school had conducted 76 tests during the past seven days, with 98.7 of those being negative, and 1.3 percent being positive.

In total, there had been 1,568 tests performed, with 98.4 percent of those being negative, and 1.6 percent being positive.

Also, there had been seven self-reported cases on the North Manchester campus, and three on the Fort Wayne campus.

During the latest ISDH update, Wabash County schools with no reported cases included:

O.J. Neighbours Elementary School

Wabash Middle School

Saint Bernard Elementary School

White’s Jr./Sr. High School

Southwood Elementary School

Only the Heartland Career Center and Emmanuel Christian School have not reported any data to the ISDH.

Heartland Career Center allows students’ schools to report their data.

Emmanuel Christian School has not yet responded to a request for comment.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Local figures

On Saturday, the ISDH reported 12 new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 432, with 6,013 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 8.4 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 12.6 percent.

On Sunday, the ISDH reported six new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 438, with 6,148 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 7.8 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 14.1 percent.

On Monday, the ISDH reported five new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 443, with 6,158 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 7.5 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 13.1 percent.

On Tuesday, the ISDH reported 14 new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 459, with 6,235 tests. (According to the ISDH on Tuesday, “a historic load of negative labs resulted in the addition of 479 historical tested individuals and 1,310 historical tests administered to Tuesday’s counts.) The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 7.3 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 13 percent.

The state still reported nine local deaths.

As of Tuesday, the ISDH reported the following Wabash County demographics for positive cases by age group:

Ages 0 to 19: 13.9 percent

Ages 20 to 29: 17 percent

Ages 30 to 39: 13.9 percent

Ages 40 to 49: 11.3 percent

Ages 50 to 59: 12 percent

Ages 60 to 69: 12.6 percent

Ages 70 to 79: 10.5 percent

Ages 80 and above: 8.7 percent

The ISDH reported the following gender breakdowns for Wabash County positive cases:

Female: 60.1 percent

Male: 39 percent

Unknown: .9 percent

The ISDH reported the following racial breakdowns for Wabash County positive cases:

White: 76.7 percent

Other race: 9.4 percent

Black or African American: 1.3 percent

Asian: .2 percent

Unknown: 12.4 percent

The ISDH reported the following ethnic breakdowns for Wabash County positive cases:

Not Hispanic or Latino: 65.4 percent

Hispanic or Latino: 3.5 percent

Unknown: 31.2 percent

Statewide figures

On Tuesday, the ISDH announced that 2,062 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. To date, a total of 166,564 Indiana residents are known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard.

A total of 3,958 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 51 from the previous day. Another 236 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by the state and occurred over multiple days.

To date, 1,646,542 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 1,638,232 on Monday. A total of 2,754,311 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26.

In addition to the site in Wabash, the ISDH is offering free drive-thru testing sites from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Saturday at the following locations:

Lake County Health Department, 2900 W. 93rd Ave., Crown Point.

Morgan County Fairgrounds, 1749 Hospital Drive, Martinsville.

White Horse Christian Center, 1780 Cumberland Ave., West Lafayette.

To find other testing sites around the state, visit www.coronavirus.in.gov and click on the COVID-19 testing information link.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplain

dealer.com.