Daily update Oct. 13

Cases continued rising sharply around the region on a day when LaGrange County reported its 13th death from COVID-19. Northeast Indiana is seeing a huge surge of new cases since the start of October.

INDIANAPOLIS — LaGrange County recorded its 13th death from COVID-19 as Indiana’s positivity rate continues to climb as new case counts remained above 1,500 for the third straight day.

Cases have now been over 1,200 per day for an entire week.

LaGrange County logged its 13th death in Tuesday’s report from the Indiana State Department of Health and the death occurred on Friday, said state data. It was the second death in a week, with the county’s previous death occurring just six days earlier on Saturday, Oct. 3.

According to demographic info, the death was a person in his or her 70s.

To date, LaGrange County has had two deaths of people in their 60s, nine deaths of people in their 70s and two deaths of people 80 and older.

After seeing very minor COVID-19 activity over the past several weeks, LaGrange County has started to see an uptick in new cases recently as has most of northeast Indiana.

The county has added 62 cases since Oct. 1, still a slower rate than some neighbors, but the county’s positivity rate has risen to 13% over the last seven days.

LaGrange County tests the least in the four-county area, averaging about 40-60 tests per day, so each positive case that is turned up has a larger impact on the positivity percentage than in other counties that do more testing.

Still, the higher numbers make it more likely that LaGrange County will push toward an orange rating in this week’s county metrics report that releases Wednesday. If case counts are over 100 per 100,000 in the last seven days, LaGrange County can expect to receive that higher warning level.

No other deaths were reported in the four-county area Tuesday. Noble County remains at 33 deaths overall, DeKalb County at 11 and Steuben County at nine.

Elsewhere around the state, the numbers continue to show surging COVID-19 activity.

In Tuesday’s report, Indiana added 1,549 new cases of COVID-19. That follows counts of 1,570 and 1,574 on Sunday and Monday, respectively.

The Tuesday count was also a new record for that particular day of the week, far surpassing the previous highest Tuesday at 970 cases, which was just last week.

The more than 1,500 cases also came on a day when total testing numbers slipped, dropping to just about 18,600 overall. That led to an increased positivity rate of 8.33% for the day, a full point higher than Monday’s return of 7.27%.

The last time positivity crested 8% was on Aug. 12. That was the only time positivity had previously been above 8% since the state started reporting total testing numbers. Prior to July 30, the state was only reporting unique individuals tested and using that to calculate positivity, which resulted in higher daily returns.

The seven-day positivity rate over the last week taking in unique cases and all tests is 6.28%.

The state is reporting the seven-day positivity rate as 5.3%, but that rate utilizes week-old numbers — currently capturing Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 — and the numbers have worsened significantly in the time since.

After two days of deaths under 10 — a drop is typical in Sunday and Monday’s reports due to the weekend — the state logged 27 deaths on Tuesday. Indiana’s average daily deaths for October continues to tick up, now sitting at about 14.6 per day this month, compared to 10.93 average across September.

Locally, cases continue to rise more sharply around northeast Indiana.

Steuben County increased another 21 cases from Monday’s total, while DeKalb County was up 14, Noble County added 11 and LaGrange County was up just three.

DeKalb County passed 600 cases all time on Tuesday, joining other recent century milestones as Steuben County passed 500 cases all-time, LaGrange County crested 700 and Noble County topped 1,000 cases overall over the weekend.

The seven-day average for daily new cases in Health District 3, which includes the four-county area, Allen and Whitley counties, and five other counties south of those two, continues to shoot sharply upward.

After averaging around 70-90 cases per day from mid-August to October, cases have rocketed sharply upward, just about doubling from an average of 86 per day on Oct. 2 to a rolling average of 165 cases as of Monday.

That’s happened despite average daily testing not changing much, with the region still averaging about the same 2,100-2,200 tests per day.

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