Daily update Feb. 23

The four-county area logged fewer than 20 new cases of COVID-19 total, although DeKalb County had one death from the virus. Activity remains low across the region.

INDIANAPOLIS — DeKalb County recorded one new COVID-19 death, just the fifth in the four-county area this month, while statewide virus numbers continue to remain low.

Deaths have become rare in the four-county area over the past month after the region racked up dozens during November, December and January, but Indiana as a whole passed 12,000 Hoosiers lost on Tuesday.

DeKalb County’s 78th death all-time occurred on Saturday and was a person 80 years old or older, said demographic information from the Indiana State Department of Health.

It’s the first death in DeKalb County from COVID-19 since Feb. 9.

To date, DeKalb County has had one death among people in their 50s, seven deaths among people in their 60s, 23 deaths of patients in their 70s and 46 deaths at the 80-plus age group.

Indiana logged 43 new deaths on Tuesday, which put the state over the 12,000 mark to 12,025 all-time.

It’s hard to gauge how long it’s taken for Indiana to log its most recent 1,000 deaths since the state added more than 1,500 deaths on Feb. 4, cases that were previously not recorded because they were either missed on first report or were delayed due to a backup in the state’s death certificate reporting system that was glitching during a transition period at the end of 2020.

The state has logged 794 deaths since that update on Feb. 4, meaning about 42 deaths per day over the last 2 1/2 weeks.

Deaths have slowed in February compared to the past month, with the state averaging 40 deaths per day across the entire month.

That’s down from 54 deaths per day in January, which itself is an undercounted average due to the state retroactively updating death totals for multiple months prior to February.

Although average daily deaths haven’t deflated back to where they were in summer 2020 when only about a dozen people were dying daily — although that may have been undercounted as well due to testing limitations those many months ago — the state has been making progress recently.

One area where the state has made considerable progress continues to be on cases and positivity, which are running at the lowest levels so far in the pandemic.

Indiana logged 679 new cases on Tuesday, the lowest single-day case count since Sept. 22. Tuesday’s cases came on a higher testing day.

The state logged the daily case count on about 21,000 tests, under the monthly average of about 35,000 tests per day, but still resulting in a one-day positivity rate of 3.24%.

The state aims to see positivity under 5%, a goal Indiana has achieved for the last 15 days straight.

The record for sub-5% positivity remains mid- to late-September, when Indiana strung together 17 consecutive days under that bar. That being said, positivity numbers over the last two weeks have been overall lower, even hitting a record low of 2%, which is significantly lower than anything logged in September.

Statewide hospitalizations sit at 873 patients in care across the state, which is within the normal range of where hospitalizations sat between June and October, ranging between 600-900 depending on the day before surging in late 2020.

Hospitalizations have fallen 75% from the all-time high of more than 3,400 patients back on Nov. 30.

Locally, the four-county area continues to see minimal new case activity.

Noble County added seven new cases, while DeKalb and Steuben counties each had six new cases. LaGrange County had zero new cases again, while averaging about 60 tests per day recently.

Looking ahead to new county metrics ratings on Wednesday, the four-county area should be a mix of blue and yellow ratings, the two best ratings.

LaGrange County looks poised to stay blue for the second week in a row with very low case counts and positivity under 5% over the last week.

Noble, DeKalb and Steuben counties all look likely to be yellow for moderate spread. Case counts have been low and positivity for all three counties is holding between 5-10%, which should be good enough to put all three in yellow this week.

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