Daily update June 6

Two more LaGrange County residents have died from COVID-19 as Noble County surpassed 1% per-capita case rate all-time.

INDIANAPOLIS — Two more LaGrange County residents have died of COVID-19, taking the county’s total to nine overall.

Since Saturday, LaGrange County logged its eighth and ninth deaths from the novel coronavirus, according to the Indiana State Department of Health statewide report released Monday.

No information was immediately available about the deaths.

Those two local deaths were among just 11 recorded statewide on Sunday and Monday. Indiana hit the mark of 2,500 total deaths attributable to COVID-19 on Sunday.

LaGrange County has now had seven deaths in the 18 days since recording its third death back on June 19.

Despite daily new case numbers coming down, LaGrange County is still having a high percentage of its cases result in hospitalization.

Dating back two weeks to June 22, LaGrange County has had 13 new hospital admissions on 74 new cases, a rate of about 17.5%. Those 13 hospitalizations are fewer than Noble, DeKalb and Steuben counties combined, which had 11 over the same term.

Statewide, about 19% of people who have entered a hospital for COVID-19 end up dying there, so increased hospitalizations increases the probability of having coronavirus deaths.

No other deaths were reported in the four-county area. Noble County remains at 28 deaths, DeKalb County at four and Steuben County at two.

As for new cases, Noble County led the area in new cases since Saturday, increasing another 13 cases to 482 overall. LaGrange County only was up three cases, DeKalb County two and Steuben County one over the two-day stretch.

Noble County has now become just the ninth county in the state to pass 1% known cases among its population, a milestone LaGrange County passed in June.

LaGrange County has the fourth-highest per-capita case rate in Indiana at 118.6 per 10,000 residents, while Noble County is ninth at 101 cases per 10,000.

Indiana as a whole continues to see slightly larger new case counts per day than it had previously, part of the reason why Gov. Eric Holcomb opted to slow the state’s reopening from July 4 to July 18.

On Sunday, the state added 576 new cases, the largest amount since May 30, followed by 323 cases on Monday on the lowest testing total since June 10.

Both days were again about 6% positivity rates — the percentage of total tests that come back positive — for the state, which had previously seen rates as low as 3% in mid-June.

Increasing positivity rates help control for changes in testing totals, since some days the state tests more people than others, and increasing positivity rates may indicate that COVID-19 is circulating more widely than in times when the rate is lower.

So far in July, Indiana is actually testing fewer people on average than it did in June. In June, the state averaged about 7,400 tests per day, but so far for the first six days of July, that average has dipped slightly to just over 7,000 per day.

While daily deaths have declined a bit — 10 per day so far in July compared to an average of 16 per day in June — case counts are up to 456 per day up from 367 per day throughout the month of June.

Hospitalizations, which had gone through a small increase at the end of June as another reason for Holcomb slowing the state’s reopening, have also been in decline from 695 patients in hospitals for COVID-19 on June 29 to 613 patients as of Sunday.

Intensive care unit bed and ventilator capacities both remain widely available.

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