Indiana’s weekly COVID-19 numbers continued their upward climb for another week.
Like just about every week since July, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are up and still not slowing down.
That includes five more deaths recorded in the local area, including younger patients succumbing with one death of someone in their 40s and the first local death from a person in their 30s.
This past week, Indiana averaged 4,212 new cases of COVID-19 per day, a 33% increase from the 3,164 average a week ago. Positivity was up from 8.2% to 8.9% as more people testing are found to be carrying the virus.
Over the past seven weeks, average daily case counts have increased by margins of 39%, 37%, 59%, 57%, 41%, 29%, and now 33% compared to the previous week.
Hospitalizations keep climbing, with the statewide patient census now at 2,221, an increase of 19.6% from a week ago. That’s down slightly from the 27% increase a week ago, but the census is still currently the highest its ever been outside of a window between mid-November to mid-January when the state hit its all-time peaks.
As has been in every week recently, deaths were up again too. Average daily deaths rose to 21.7, up from 16.3 the week previous. Average daily deaths have almost doubled compared to two weeks ago, when the state averaged 11.4 deaths per day over seven days.
Deaths now are currently higher than they were in August 2020, when the state had no vaccine protection against the virus.
This week, local counties racked up new deaths again, with five reported across the four-county area. That included three new deaths reported in Noble County and one each in DeKalb and Steuben counties.
Over the past week, Noble County tallied its 94th, 95th and 96th deaths from COVID-19. Those occurred on Aug. 20, 25 and 27 and included two people 80 years old or older and one person in their 70s, according to data from the Indiana State Department of Health.
To date in Noble County, one death has been among a resident in the 40s, six were people in their 50s, nine people in their 60s, 23 people in their 70s and 57 at 80 or older.
In DeKalb County, the 89th death overall happened on Aug. 23 and was a person in their 40s.
To date, DeKalb County has had two deaths among patients in their 40s, three deaths among people in their 50s, nine deaths among people in their 60s, 23 deaths of patients in their 70s and 52 deaths at the 80-plus age group.
In Steuben County, the 64th death all time in that county occurred Aug. 22 and was person in their 30s, the first in that age range in the four-county area.
Statewide, less than 1% of the state’s nearly 14,000 deaths have been people younger than 40, putting Steuben County into rare company to have recorded a death of someone so young from COVID-19.
Of the total deaths in Steuben County, one has been a person in his or her 30s, one has been a person in his or her 40s, two people in their 50s, 14 have been people in their 60s, 17 deaths have been people in their 70s, and 29 deaths have been among those 80 and older.
LaGrange County had no new reported deaths, remaining at 73 all time.
Indiana continues to remain under siege by the delta variant, the highly infectious variant of COVID-19 that has become the dominant strain circulating the state.
Approximately 98% of samples genetically sequenced this month have come back as the delta variant.
The increased spread of the delta variant has led to an increase in breakthrough cases among vaccinated Hoosiers — now making up about 3.09 million Hoosiers, approximately 54% of the eligible population age 12 and up — although the vast majority of new cases continue to be among unvaccinated Hoosiers.
Breakthrough cases have been occurring more frequently in recent weeks, with last week about 11% of new cases being among people who had previously been vaccinated. But vaccinated people county to see smaller rates of hospitalizations and deaths as compared to the state’s unvaccinated population, with recent known-case hospitalization rates about 1/3rd and a death rate about half compared to unvaccinated people.
In the local area, which is poorly vaccinated and trailing the statewide average widely, new case counts rose across most of the area again, with three of four counties now logging more than 100 new cases per week.
Noble County logged 290 cases new cases, up from 162 last week; DeKalb recorded 197, up from 130; Steuben tallied 134 cases, up from 116; and low-testing LaGrange County had 31 new cases, down a little from 37 last week.
Vaccination rates in the four-county area greatly lag the statewide average.
While Indiana sits at 54% of its eligible population vaccinated, rates are 45% in Steuben County, 41% in DeKalb County, 40% in Noble County and just 25% in LaGrange County.