Daily update Oct. 21

Case counts were mixed around the four-county area but statewide cases and positivity were high on a day when the state hit 48 reported deaths, the highest one-day total seen since May.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana recorded 48 new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, the highest one-day total since early May.

That’s on top of new cases remaining high and positivity spiking even higher than it has been recently.

According to Tuesday’s daily report from the Indiana State Department of Health, the state tallied 48 new deaths, the highest amount the state has seen in a day since early in the pandemic.

The last time deaths were so high was May 21, when the deaths that day were also at 48.

Deaths have been in the double digits daily for weeks now, but have only rarely topped 20 per day, making Tuesday’s amount an exceptional outlier. Unlike Monday, when the state noted that 11 deaths were added from earlier weeks after additional verification, Tuesday’s total came with no such asterisk.

Death counts are usually higher on Tuesdays than any other day during the week, due to a lag with reporting and verification from over the weekend. Death totals over the previous five Tuesdays counting backward from this week were 27, 30, 20, 8 and 12.

Indiana has seen a sharp uptick in deaths during April. Tuesday’s large return has pulled up the monthly daily average even more, to an 18.5 deaths per day average.

That’s higher than September (10.93), August (10.35), July (9.94) and June (16.03). It’s lower than April and May, a time frame during which COVID-19 ravaged its way through vulnerable populations in numerous nursing homes, averaging approximately 32 and 30 deaths per day, respectively, in those months.

The new case count for Tuesday clocked in at 1,498 cases, similar to Sunday and Monday and again close to last week’s numbers. The Tuesday return last week was slightly higher 1,549 cases, but the numbers so far this week have tracked very closely to last week.

Last week, cases surged over 2,000 per day by the end of the week, setting a new all-time high at nearly 2,500 positive test results by Saturday.

Tuesday’s positivity rate was also high at 8.54%, the highest one-day return ever since the state began releasing total testing numbers in late July. Positivity has continued to climb across the state, rising from daily returns of under 4% in mid-September to now upward of 6% on 10 out of the last 11 days.

The state views 5% as a benchmark, but positivity has been above that level almost every day since Sept. 28.

Hospitalizations have not slowed down either and continued to rise, hitting a new recent high of 1,425 admitted patients total, the most since May 5. The total hospital census has been on a steady upswing since Sept. 21 when 759 patients were being treated in total across the state.

Locally, the four-county area had no new reported deaths Tuesday despite the big uptick in the statewide total, however some counties continue to see sharp increases in new cases.

Noble County led the area on Tuesday’s report, adding 22 new cases, while Steuben County was up 12 to hit 600 cases all-time. DeKalb County, which has been adding cases at one of the fatest rates in the region, had eight new cases reflected in the state report, while LaGrange County was up just one case from the day prior.

The average new cases for Health District 3, which includes the four-county area, plus Whitley and Allen counties and five other counties to the south of those, has leveled off over the last few days after peaking at a rolling average of 197 cases across the 11 counties earlier this week.

Whether that slight turn represents a true improvement or only a short term blip will be seen as this week carries on.

No deaths were reported. Noble County remains at 33 deaths overall, while LaGrange County sits at 15, DeKalb County at 11 and Steuben County at eight.

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