Daily update Oct. 23

The rise in case counts slowed a bit Friday, but Noble County recorded a new COVID-19 death and statewide cases remained above 2,000 as hospitalizations keep rising.

INDIANAPOLIS — As Indiana’s death count from COVID-19 has been rising in recent weeks, Noble County has recorded its 34th death.

The death is the second for Noble County this month after a person died on Oct. 6. Friday’s daily report from the Indiana State Department of Health said the death occurred on Wednesday.

Based on demographic data provided by the state, the patient who died was in their 60s.

To date, Noble County has had two deaths of people in their 50s, two in their 60s, eight in their 70s and 22 people aged 80 or older.

Most of Noble County’s death count was racked up due to nursing home outbreaks that occurred this spring and a second, smaller wave after COVID-19 got into an assisted living facility.

Noble County had gone about a month between a death on Sept. 8 and the first this month with no new patients lost. Few deaths were recorded around the four-county region in September when the state was seeing positive signs, but the situation has turned sharply upward since the state entered Stage 5 of its reopening plan on Sept. 26.

On Wednesday, Gov. Eric Holcomb and state health officials said the state’s ongoing spike in hospitalizations and rising deaths are being driven in part by new outbreaks occurring in nursing homes as much wider community spread is leading to the virus making inroads back into those facilities.

Following major outbreaks in April and May, the state strike teams helped long-term care facilities get a better handle on fighting COVID-19 and the situation vastly improved throughout the summer and early fall. But lately, much bigger COVID-19 case numbers among people outside of nursing homes had create more opportunities for the virus to get back to those vulnerable residents.

Indiana is now averaging about 20 deaths per day in October, nearly double the 11 per day seen in September and hospitalizations are continuing to shoot sharply upward.

The state now has more than double the number of patients admitted for COVID-19 treatments than it did about a month ago — 759 on Sept. 21 to 1,548 as of Oct. 22.

Statewide hospital capacity is also shrinking, with the state going from 45% of intensive care unit beds available on Sept. 21 to about 30% open as of Thursday.

Statewide case counts remain at some of the highest-ever levels.

Although Friday’s total didn’t surpass the state’s new all-time high of 2,850 cases set Thursday, the state did hit 2,467 new cases on Friday.

It’s the fourth time cases have been more than 2,000 since last Friday. Prior to then, daily cases had never topped 2,000 in a single day.

Friday’s case number was down a bit as overall testing came down off a record from more than 36,000 to around 31,000 tests, but the positivity rate was almost identical between the two days — 7.82% on Thursday and 7.89% on Friday.

Locally, increases in new cases in the four-county slowed a bit in Friday’s report compared to the day before.

Noble County had the biggest increase, adding 15 cases, while DeKalb County was up 10, LaGrange County added nine cases and Steuben County increased six cases.

No other deaths were reported around the area, with LaGrange County holding at 15, DeKalb County at 11 and Steuben County at eight.

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