Weekly ratings June 2

Noble County improved to a blue rating while DeKalb County popped back into yellow in this week’s COVID-19 spread ratings. Overall, the state was mostly unchanged compared to a week ago.

INDIANAPOLIS — The statewide COVID-19 picture is similar this week to last, with most counties showing low spread of the virus.

Among local counties, Noble County showed improvement to the state’s best rating, while DeKalb County lost a little ground and bumped back to the second-best rating this week.

Overall the COVID-19 spread picture is mostly the same as a week ago, with a handful more counties moving up in the ratings for virus spread but about 6-in-10 showing low virus activity.

Noble County made the drop from a yellow rating back to blue, the best representing low spread, this week after cases fell and positivity has remained low in the county.

Noble County’s positivity rate rose slightly to 4.79%, up from 4.15% a week ago, but per-capita cases dropped from 131 to just 52, good enough to push the county to the best rating.

A county achieves a blue rating if it can keep positivity under 5% and have fewer than 100 cases per capita on the week.

DeKalb County, this week, was an example of how difficult it can be to hold that blue rating week-to-week, as its positivity rose enough to push it back to a yellow rating.

Cases in DeKalb County dropped to 46 per 100,000, down from 82 per 100,000 last week, but positivity increased from 3.99% to 6.07%, which shoved it back to yellow.

Elsewhere in the local area, Steuben County improved but not quite enough to earn a blue rating, while LaGrange County held blue for the second-straight week.

Steuben County showed improvement across both metrics, dropping to 37 cases per 100,000 from 72 a week ago, while positivity dropped from 7.54% to 5.24%. If Steuben County could drop below that 5% mark, it would achieve a blue rating again for its first time since the color-based ratings were launched in September 2020.

In LaGrange County, case counts were similar to a week ago, up to 40 per 100,000 from 35 a week ago, but positivity fell further to 2.34% compared to 4.92% a week past.

Statewide, Indiana’s ratings worsened as a whole, albeit only slightly.

The state has one county rated orange for high spread of the virus, Owen County in western Indiana, while the number of yellow counties representing moderate spread increased slightly to 35 from 33 a week ago. Blue counties fell to 56 from 59, although those still make up a majority of the state’s 92 counties.

Cases, hospitalizations and deaths have remained low as the state continues to add more fully vaccinated Hoosiers, with the state hitting 2.53 million fully-vaccinated Hoosiers, representing 43.5% of the eligible population 12 and older, although not enough time has elapsed to allow anyone 12-15 to become fully vaccinated yet.

The state continues to see declining vaccine demand, with the state falling from about 56,000 vaccines given per day in early April to fewer than 15,000 per day recently.

Indiana still has more than 50% of its population to vaccinate and has capacity to distribute significantly more shots than it is. But lagging demand has led to many local clinics cutting back hours or shutting down and relocating back to their normal offices.

Steuben County recently closed its clinic at Crooked Lake and is now operating out of the Steuben County Community Center in Angola, while DeKalb County closed its operation at the fairgrounds and is now directing people who want vaccines to private pharmacies or other public clinics still operating.

Noble and LaGrange counties are still operating out of their current locations at the library in Albion and former Lima-Brighton Elementary School, respectively, but have trimmed hours due to decreased demand.

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