IN removes Greene County COVID-19 case; updates statewide numbers

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Greene County Health Officer Dr. Pete Powers.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTWO/WAWV) – Indiana State Department of Health said Sunday that the positive COVID-19 case reported Saturday in Greene County was, in fact, incorrect.

The health department’s map tracking the virus in Indiana has been updated and shows no cases of coronavirus in Greene County. The state reported a positive case in the county Saturday morning.

The state health department released a statement about the reported case in Greene County on Saturday, saying the patient actually lived in another county. The state has been releasing daily updates on the spread of COVID-19 in Indiana.

“The information in this morning’s (Sunday’s) ISDH update is correct,” the release reads. “Cases on the ISDH dashboard are intended to reflect the patient’s county of residence. The patient with the positive test in Greene Co. was determined to have a different county of residence. That was the reason for the dashboard update.”

Greene County General Hospital sent a statement about the situation to WTWO:

“The Greene County Health Department now reports there is not a confirmed case of coronavirus in the county as the state originally reported. The health department has reported to Greene County General Hospital that it was a reporting error from the state and that the ISDH confirmed that there is not a confirmed case. This test was not conducted in Greene County. 

“They said the state is working to correct the mistake.

“The state also removed the Greene County case from their official website.”

Greene County Health Officer, Dr. Pete Powers also issued a statement explaining the situation:

“Greene County was reported to have one confirmed positive case of COVID-19 on Friday, 3/20/2020, that has since been retracted by the ISDH. Friday evening the Greene County Health Department’s nurse and health officer were contacted by our region’s epidemiologist from ISDH with notice of the first positive case of COVID-19 from a patient who resides in Greene County. The patient was from Greene County, but had not recently been in Greene County. The test was performed at an undisclosed hospital that is outside of Greene County, and sent to an independent lab for processing. The Greene County Health Department’s nurse started the task of contact tracing immediately. Part of her investigation included interviewing the nurses caring for this patient at the undisclosed hospital. The investigation concluded that the results from the independent lab of the COVID-19 test were negative. The ISDH epidemiology department was then notified of this discrepancy that our local health department nurse found. Further investigation by the ISDH with the independent lab found that the results were falsely reported to the ISDH as positive, when in fact they were negative. ISDH then retracted their previous reports that Greene County had a positive COVID-19 case. This patient normally resides in Greene County, but the hospital that performed the test, as well as the lab that processed and initially reported the test results, are outside of Greene County. I would like to commend our local health department nurse, Stacie Fonderhide, RN, for her investigation that discovered this error.”

While ISDH removed the Greene County case, the agency also reported 76 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday morning, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 201.

Four deaths have been reported due to coronavirus in Indiana. The following counties were listed as having new cases in the news release from the state Sunday morning.

“The new cases involve residents of Bartholomew (4), Boone (1), Delaware (1), Dubois (1), Floyd (1), Franklin (2), Grant (1), Hamilton (8), Hancock (2), Hendricks (2), Howard (1), Johnson (5), Lake (3), Madison (1), Marion (35), Monroe (1) Morgan (1), Putnam (1), Ripley (1), St. Joseph (2), Scott (1) and Tipton (1) counties,” the release reads. “The list of counties with cases is included in the ISDH COVID-19 dashboard at https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/, which will be updated daily at 10 a.m. Cases are listed by county of residence. Private lab reporting may be delayed and will be reflected in the map and count when results are received at ISDH.”

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