Daily update May 23

The number of new cases and new deaths were both below the May average for the state. Noble County had six new cases as of Saturday, along with two cases in DeKalb County and one new in LaGrange County.

INDIANAPOLIS — Daily new cases and new deaths from COVID-19 were both under the monthly average, while testing remains better than usual.

Indiana recorded 492 new cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday’s report from the Indiana State Department of Health, which was up a little from the day before but below the average for May.

So far in May, Indiana is averaging about 568 new cases per day. That’s only a little above the April average of 523 cases per day, despite Indiana greatly increasing its testing capacity and despite the state reopening, with more people returning to work and public spaces and increasing person-to-person contact.

New cases are one factor being watched by the state, but not one of the four main indicators the state is using to determine whether to advance on its reopening process. Still, the number of new cases have been fairly stable across the month and an expected spike from people having more contact hasn’t occurred.

As of today, Indiana advances to Stage 3 of its five-step reopening plan, which allows some businesses to increase their customer capacity while also meaning fitness centers, gyms and campgrounds can reopen.

Indiana also recorded 21 new deaths on Saturday, which was below the May average of 35 per day. That number, however, may not be totally indicative of current COVID-19 activity, as death numbers typically fall off over the weekend and then spike early in the work week, attributable to short delays in reporting to the state.

Indiana also processed about 6,400 tests on Saturday, another strong day of testing. The state has processed more than 5,200 COVID-19 tests each day for the last 10 days, showing a significant increase in capacity compared to earlier in the month.

Indiana opened 50 new test sites run by company OptumServe earlier this month, which has allowed for more testing of symptomatic Hoosiers and asymptomatic patients with at least one risk factor.

Northeast Indiana has three of those 50 sites, with OptumServe testing locations available at the Indiana National Guard armory in Angola, at the Community Learning Center in Kendallville and at Lakeland High School in LaGrange.

Locally, Noble County added six more cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday, taking its overall total to 174. Steuben County was unchanged at 76 cases, LaGrange County increases one to 59 and DeKalb County was up two to 28 cases total.

No new deaths have been reported in the last week in any of the four counties. That came after Noble County had another spate of deaths the previous week, adding five to its total in seven days.

Noble County leads the area with 20 deaths, while LaGrange and Steuben counties had two deaths and DeKalb County has had one.

Noble County had continued battling COVID-19 outbreaks at two nursing homes, which account for most of the county’s new case activity and all of the 20 deaths that have occurred to date.

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