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County back to most severe COVID spread rate
  • Updated

JASPER — A surge in COVID-19 cases brings Dubois County back to severe community spread advisory status.

Indiana Department of Health’s weekly update on community spread metrics shows 80 of the state’s 92 counties are at severe spread levels.

The agency’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 163 new cases in Dubois County Wednesday, for a total 10,279 cases including 151 deaths among 29,811 people tested over the course of the pandemic.

The county’s seven-day rolling positivity rate is at 22.8% for all tests, and at 31.1% among people tested for the first time.

The surge prompted Northeast Dubois County Schools to move to virtual learning Thursday and Friday. There is no school Jan. 17, a scheduled countywide teacher inservice day.

While classes are virtual in that district the rest of this week, lunch is available both days at the junior-senior high. Enter through door 12.

Sporting events were also postponed through the weekend, practices with proper precautions are allowed.

County demographics show local cases among students (ages 5-19) at 16.5%. People ages 20-29 account for 16.4% of the cases, while ages 30-39 and ages 50-59 each account for 15.5% of the local cases. The demographic breakdown shows 13.6% of cases among ages 40-49, 10.5% among ages 60-69, 5.4% among ages 70-79 and 3.9% among ages 80 and older.

The Regenstrief Institute reports that 105 Dubois County residents have made emergency room visits related to COVID-19 over the past 30 days, with 16 hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, one was admitted to an intensive care unit bed and one died in the hospital from the virus.

The state reports 59.5% of the county’s eligible population is fully vaccinated.


In addition to regular testing and vaccination scheduled, Dubois County Health Department offers and evening clinic at the health department office, 1187 South Charles Street, Jasper, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19 to accommodate anyone wanting COVID-19 vaccine after normal business hours. No appointment is needed.

No vaccines other than COVID-19 will be available.

Patrons need to bring identification, insurance cards and COVID-19 vaccination card if available.

The drive-through clinic is open for anyone 12 and older. Anyone under 12 years old must come inside on arrival.

For more information about the clinic, phone 812-481-7056.

The Centers for Disease Control recommendations for booster shots and additional doses:

• People 12 and older should receive a booster shot. People age 12 to 17 must receive a Pfizer booster.

• People who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) should receive a booster shot at least five months after completing their primary vaccine series.

• Moderately or severely immunocompromised people age 5 or older who received an initial mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series should receive an additional primary dose of the same mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after the second dose.

• Moderately and severely immunocompromised people 12 or older who completed an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series and received an additional mRNA vaccine dose should receive a single COVID-19 booster dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen) at least five months after completing their third mRNA vaccine dose. In such situations, people who are moderately and severely immunocompromised may receive a total of four COVID-19 vaccine doses.

• A person who received one primary dose of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine should not receive more than two COVID-19 vaccine doses.

A parent must be present for anyone 5-18-years old and must complete a consent for vaccination form. A copy of a parent’s ID and insurance card must be included.


In the area, Daviess County reports 95 new cases including two additional deaths, for 5,986 cases including 126 deaths among 18,970 people tested; Martin County 20 new cases for 1,733 cases including 20 deaths among 6,093 people tested; Orange County 25 new cases for 3,922 cases including 81 deaths among 12,346 people tested; Crawford County 19 new cases for 2,008 cases including 31 deaths among 7,265 people tested; Perry County 55 new cases for 3,491 cases including 55 deaths among 12,600 people tested; Spencer County 37 new cases for 4,228 cases including 56 deaths among 11,927 people tested; Warrick County 208 new cases including one additional death for 15,003 cases including 210 deaths among 45,286 people tested; and Vanderburgh County 656 new cases for 42,948 cases including 521 deaths among 133,469 people tested.

Sadie and Annabelle Funderburk, Adalyn Helming and Owen Schmidt make stuffed animals at Ferdinand Public Library on Tuesday afternoon.

Making a stuffed animal

Indiana COVID-19 hospitalizations hit new peak amid omicron

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana hospitals are reporting a record number of COVID-19 patients as the highly contagious omicron variant continues driving a statewide surge, the state's latest coronavirus update shows.

Indiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations reached 3,467 on Monday, eclipsing the previous pandemic peak of 3,460 the state set on Nov. 30, 2020, according to an update posted Tuesday on the state health department's coronavirus dashboard.

COVID-19 patients occupied 38.4% of Indiana’s intensive care unit beds Monday and the state had only 10.6% of its ICU beds available overall.

Indiana also reported 11,932 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday as the omicron variant continued spreading.

Brian Tabor, president of the Indiana Hospital Association, said the surge in COVID-19 patients, combined with non-COVID-19 patients who delayed treatment earlier in the pandemic but are now seeking care, has created a “crisis" for Indiana's hospitals.

“Indiana hospitals are overwhelmed with the highest number of patients on record and have reached a state of crisis with dwindling capacity left to care for patients,” he said Tuesday in a statement.

Tabor said Indiana's emergency departments are seeing between 8,500 and 10,000 visits per day, and at any given time several hundred patients are waiting in ERs for hospital beds to open up.

With hospital patient volumes expected to climb for the next couple of weeks, he urged Hoosiers to seek COVID-19 tests not at hospital emergency rooms but at primary care sites including physician offices and urgent care centers.

Inflation at 40-year high pressures consumers, Fed and Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation jumped at its fastest pace in nearly 40 years last month, a 7% spike from a year earlier that is increasing household expenses, eating into wage gains and heaping pressure on President Joe Biden and the Federal Reserve to address what has become the biggest threat to the U.S. economy.

Prices rose sharply in 2021 for cars, gas, food and furniture as part of a rapid recovery from the pandemic recession. Vast infusions of government aid and ultra-low interest rates helped spur demand for goods, while vaccinations gave people confidence to dine out and travel.

As Americans ramped up spending, supply chains remained squeezed by shortages of workers and raw materials and this magnified price pressures.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that a measure of inflation that excludes volatile food and gas prices jumped 5.5% in December, also the highest in decades. Overall inflation rose 0.5% from November, down from 0.8% the previous month.

Price gains could slow further as snags in supply chains ease, but most economists say inflation won’t fall back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon.

“U.S. inflation pressures show no sign of easing,’’ said James Knightley, chief international economist at the financial services company ING. “It hasn’t been this high since the days of Thatcher and Reagan. We could be close to the peak, but the risk is that inflation stays higher for longer.’’

High inflation isn't only a problem for the U.S. In the 19 European countries that use the euro currency, inflation rose 5% in December compared with a year earlier, the biggest increase on record.

Companies large and small are adapting as best they can.

Nicole Pomije, a bakery owner in the Minneapolis area, said she plans to raise prices for cookies because of surging ingredient costs.

Her basic cookies were priced at 99 cents each, while premium versions were selling for $1.50 each. But Pomije said she will have to jack up the prices of her basic cookies to the premium price.

“We have to make money,” she said. “We don’t want to lose our customers. But I think we might.”

Businesses struggling to hire have hiked pay, but rising prices for goods and services have eroded those income gains for many Americans. Lower-income families have felt it the most, and polls show that inflation has started displacing even the coronavirus as a public concern.

The United States hasn’t seen anything like it since the early 1980s. Back then, Fed Chair Paul Volcker responded by pushing interest rates to painful levels — the prime rate for banks’ best customers hit 20% in 1980 — and sent the economy into a deep recession. But Volcker succeeded in taming inflation that had been running at double-digit year-over-year levels for much of 1979-1981.

High inflation has put President Biden on the defensive. His administration, echoing officials at the Fed, initially suggested that price increases would be temporary. Now that inflation has persisted, Biden and some congressional Democrats have begun to blame large corporations. They say meat producers and other industries are taking advantage of pandemic-induced shortages to drive up prices and profits. But even some left-of-center economists disagree with that diagnosis.

On Wednesday, the president issued a statement arguing that the drop in gas prices in December and a smaller increase in food costs showed progress.

One trend experts fear is a wage-price spiral. That happens when workers seek more pay to offset higher costs, and then companies raise costs further to cover that higher pay. On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told a Senate panel that he has yet to see evidence that wages are broadly driving up prices across the economy.

The biggest driver of inflation, according to economists, are mismatches between supply and demand. Used car prices have soared more than 37% over the past year because a shortage of semiconductors has prevented auto companies from making enough new cars. Supply-chain constraints have driven furniture prices nearly 14% higher over the past year.

Shoppers are feeling the pinch all around them, from the gas station to the grocery store.

Vicki Bernardo Hill, 65, an occupational therapist in Gaithersburg, Maryland, says she no longer throws extra canned food, boxes of cereal or bakery items into her shopping cart at the Giant Food store.

“I am trying to stick to my list and buying things that are on sale, ” said Hill.

Because she couldn't find a good deal on a used car, Hill recently bought a new Mazda, spending $5,000 more than she had planned.

Inflation could ease as the omicron wave fades and as Americans shift more of their spending to services such as travel, eating out and movie-going. That would reduce the demand for goods and help clear supply chains.

But some higher prices, such as rents, could prove to be stickier. Rental costs, which have accelerated since summer, rose 0.4% in December, the third consecutive monthly increase. That's significant because housing costs make up one-third of the government's consumer price index.

Powell told Congress that if it becomes necessary to fight high inflation more aggressively, the Federal Reserve is prepared to accelerate the interest rate hikes it plans to begin this year. The Fed's benchmark short-term rate, now pegged near zero, is expected to be bumped up at least three times this year.

Rate increases would make borrowing for a home or car more expensive, and therefore help to cool off the economy.

Some economists and members of Congress fear the Fed has acted too slowly to head off inflation and that this could eventually force even sharper rate increases that could damage the economy.

Republicans in Congress and even some liberal economists say Biden deserves at least some of the blame for high inflation, arguing that the financial rescue package he pushed through Congress last March added significant stimulus to an already strengthening economy.


AP Writers Paul Wiseman and Josh Boak in Washington, Dee-Ann Durbin in Detroit and Anne D'Innocenzio in New York contributed to this report.

FILE - Housing activists march across town toward New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's office, calling for an extension of pandemic-era eviction protections, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in New York. Prices paid by U.S. consumers jumped in December 2021 compared to a year earlier, the latest evidence that rising costs for food, gas, rent and other necessities are heightening the financial pressures on America's households. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Weyer named Lilly Scholar
  • Updated

FERDINAND — Dylan Weyer of Forest Park High School is the 2022 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship award recipient from Dubois County.

Lilly Endowment Community Scholars, selected for community involvement, academic achievement, character and leadership, receives full tuition, required fees and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and required equipment for four years of undergraduate study on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university.

Weyer plans to attend University of Evansville in the fall to study mechanical engineering.

He was chosen from an applicant pool of 52 candidates from all four high schools in Dubois County. After the field of applicants was narrowed down, nominees were submitted to the statewide administrator of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, Independent Colleges of Indiana, for the selection of scholarship recipients.

Weyer, of Ferdinand, is the son of Gary and Michele Weyer.

Lilly Endowment created the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program for the 1998-1999 school year and has supported the program every year since with tuition grants totaling more than $439 million. More than 5,000 Indiana students have received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship since the program’s inception.