INDIANAPOLIS — COVID-19 cases across Indiana continue to tick upward and hospitalizations are rising slowly as the state continues to see a slow but steady upward trend over the last few weeks.
Deaths still remain very low, but the virus has been circulating more widely so far this month after hitting all-time lows in June.
There were no new deaths recorded in the four-county area this week, although northeast Indiana hasn’t been immune for the recent rise in cases, in part because most residents in the region aren’t immunized against the virus.
Statewide, Indiana averaged about 510 new cases of COVID-19 per day, which is up from approximately 367 cases per day a week ago.
Positivity has continued to rise too, with about 4.3% of tests taken coming back positive this past week, up from 3.6% a week ago.
More patients are also landing in hospitals as the number of people in treatment for COVID-19 statewide has risen to 493, up from 399 a week ago.
Deaths remain low, however, with only about four deaths per day average recorded over the last week.
Indiana was seeing fewer than 200 new cases per day less about three weeks ago, and although the increases have been slow to this point, numbers have been increasing.
It’s a similar pattern to 2020, where activity lulled in June before rising slowly throughout July. Last year, case activity plateaued through the rest of the month until the end of September when colder weather returned and cases, hospitalizations and deaths started shooting more sharply upward.
A repeat of fall and winter 2020 doesn’t appear likely this year as now just over half of eligible Hoosiers age 12 and older are fully vaccinated against the virus and breakthrough cases continue to be exceedingly rare.
Even if the virus does begin to transmit more widely as the year drags on, the state may be unlikely to see huge spikes in deaths as the most vulnerable — older Hoosiers age 60 and up — are the most highly vaccinated in the state.
Younger people are generally not vaccinated at a rate of about 2-in-3, but COVID-19 has generally not been deadly in most cases to people younger than 40.
That being said, Indiana has been seeing rising prevalence of the delta variant of COVID-19, which was first identified in India. Not only is that strain more infectious than the original version of the virus sequenced at the start of the pandemic, it also has proven to hit patients harder, including younger patients.
Since July 6, Noble County has seen 28 new cases, DeKalb County tallied 27, Steuben County added 11 cases and LaGrange County has logged just nine.
Case counts have also risen at higher rates in some local counties compared to a week ago.
Noble County added 54 new cases, up from 28 last week; while Steuben County added 33, up from 11 a week ago; DeKalb County had a similar 25 cases and LaGrange County had the same with nine.
Local counties continue to lag the state’s overall vaccination rate, with LaGrange County continuing to be the least vaccinated county in the state and Noble County being in the bottom quartile.