INDIANAPOLIS — This week’s county COVID-19 ratings reflect what the numbers have already been showing — the virus is transmitting more widely.
LaGrange and Steuben counties both increased to orange status this week representing moderate to high spread of the virus — two of 21 counties in the state to get that rating this week, the highest ever — while Noble and DeKalb counties held in the yellow.
Overall, the state saw a significant worsening of its ratings since last week, with less than a third of all counties now in the blue, the best rating representing low spread of COVID-19.
LaGrange and Steuben counties both ticked up into orange, although by slightly different methods.
LaGrange County entered the orange by posting both higher case counts and positivity rates. The county received 2 points for its per-capita new case rate of 123 new cases per 100,000, and also received 2 points for a positivity rate over 10%, at 11.05% for the last week.
Steuben County’s positivity rate wasn’t a major issue, scoring just 1 point for a rate of 7.84%, about the same place it was last week, but the county saw a huge jump in the per-capita number of cases. At 95 per 100,000 last week, Steuben County received 3 points this week for a rate of 237 cases per 100,000. Those scores gave it an average of 2 points, putting the county into the orange.
Neither of the two counties are in danger of moving into the red, barring some major changes. To enter the red, the counties would have to have both cases topping 200 per 100,000 and positivity above 15%. LaGrange County would have to see significantly more cases to hit that mark, while Steuben County would need to see a major spike in positivity to get there.
DeKalb County stayed in the yellow this week, although barely with an average score of 1.5. The county got 2 points for topping the per-capita level, sitting at 151 per 100,000, but received 1 point for its 9.15% positivity rate, just shy of the 10% mark that would have put it up another level and into the orange.
Noble County held in the yellow, although its case rate has risen, too. The county posted 131 new cases per 100,000, for 2 points, but received 0 points for a better-than-benchmark positivity rate of just 4.18%, an improvement from last week.
Across the state, after seeing a worsening picture in last weeks ratings, counties generally fared worse this week.
The state still had just one county in the red for high spread — Fountain County in western Indiana — but saw its number of orange counties jump from eight last week to 21 this week.
Orange represents moderate to high spread of the virus and comes with recommendations from the state for schools to consider suspending large programs and consider moving older students to virtual formats temporarily.
The number of counties in yellow for moderate spread also increased from 42 to 46, while the state saw its blue counties drop from 39 to 24.
Throughout September, more than half of counties received the good blue rating over four weeks, now only about 1-in-4 has that designation.