INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's county ratings for COVID-19 spread improved again, although the local area once again had no change in its color codes this week.
It's the third consecutive week the overall state picture has improved a bit, following 13 weeks straight prior to that of week-by-week worsening ratings.
Locally, the picture remained the same as it has been recently, with LaGrange County stuck in red, the worst rating representing very high spread, with Noble, DeKalb and Steuben counties holding in orange representing high spread.
Statewide, eight counties remain in red ratings, the same as a week ago, but the number of counties rated orange dropped from 76 to 69 while the number of yellow counties, representing moderate spread, increased from eight to 15.
Indiana still has no counties rated blue, representing low spread, and hasn't since Aug. 11.
Locally, LaGrange County stayed red again as it continues to struggle with very high positivity rates.
Cases per capita were similar to a week ago at 239 per 100,000 compared to 229 last week, while positivity stayed very high at 20.53%, down slightly from 22.44%.
Counties earn a red rating if they top both 200 cases per 100,000 and 15% positivity in a seven-day period.
LaGrange County is susceptible to wild swings in its positivity rates as the county tests the least per-capita in all of the state, meaning that when it does detect positive cases, each one influences the percentage swing more than in counties that test much more broadly.
Elsewhere in the region, local counties kept orange for another week.
Cases were up in Noble County to 347 per 100,000 compared to 295 per 100,000 a week ago, while positivity was up slightly to 11.72% from 11.02% last week.
DeKalb County moved off the cusp of the orange-red border this week, with cases falling a bit to 280 per 100,000 from 361 per 100,000 last week, while positivity dropped to 13.19% from 14.92% last week.
Steuben County saw a drop in cases to 424 per 100,000 from 549 a week ago, but positivity ticked up some to 11.82% from 9.24% a week ago.
Indiana’s seeing a drop in COVID-19 activity for about the last month after peaking in mid-September. That peak brought an end to about two and a half months of increasing cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Cases and hospitalizations have come down since hitting the peak, although average daily deaths still remain at around 40 per day statewide.
Indiana’s vaccination rate remains at about 58% of Hoosiers 12 and older and hasn’t moved much as weekly new vaccinations has hit all-time lows recently.
Local counties all trail the statewide vaccine average by 10 percentage or more, making the region one of the least vaccinated parts of the state.