INDIANAPOLIS — Statewide COVID-19 numbers have continued to decline as Indiana comes off a peak of activity driven by the delta variant of the virus.

Death numbers haven’t started to fall substantially yet, but other metrics continue to show slow improvement.

This past week, Indiana averaged 2,548 new cases of COVID-19 per day, down from 2,806 new cases average the week prior. That’s a 9% drop week over week.

Positivity was up compared to the week before, however, back up to 7.7% from 6.9% the week before, showing an increase in patients coming back with positive tests, driven in part by a drop in testing numbers by about 7,500 tests per day.

Hospitalizations continued to decrease, falling from 2,113 to 1,861 as of Sunday, an 11% drop since last week. Hospitalizations have been steadily decreasing since mid-September as beds clear out after several weeks of surging upward.

Indiana still hasn’t seen much movement on new COVID-19 deaths, however. Average daily deaths reported over the past week sat at 41.9 per day, almost the same as 42.3 per day reported the week prior.

Deaths are a lagging indicator and the last to move and change directions after cases and hospitalizations, since a very ill patient will take days or even weeks to die if their case is serious and turns fatal.

The four-county area recorded another four deaths this past week, with two in Noble County and two in LaGrange County.

In Noble, the 102nd and 103rd deaths all time occurred Oct. 1 and one older deaths from Aug. 28 that was just now uploaded to the state dashboard. Both of the patients were in their 60s, according to state demographic data.

To date in Noble County, one death has been among a resident in the 40s, seven were people in their 50s, 12 people in their 60s, 24 people in their 70s and 59 at 80 or older.

In LaGrange County, the 76th and 77th deaths in the county occurred on Oct. 1 and Oct 3. One person was 80 years old or older, while the other decreased was a person in their 70s.

To date, LaGrange County has had three deaths among people in their 50s, 10 deaths among people in their 60s, 22 among people in their 70s and 41 people who were 80 or older.

Steuben and DeKalb counties had no new deaths reported, remaining and 70 and 92 deaths all time, respectively.

The statewide surge in COVID-19 activity brought on by the highly infectious delta variant started in July and extended through about mid-September before cases hit a peak.

Since about mid-month, new activity has been in a slow decline.

Activity didn’t hit as high as the surge that started in fall 2020 and extended through January 2021, but Indiana saw its second-largest surge in activity during the last few months.

The one difference between now and winter 2020 was that about half of Hoosiers were protected by vaccines this time around and, although breakthrough cases did impact people who were vaccinated, the majority of new activity seen across the state was among the unvaccinated half of the population.

Despite that, the surge in cases hadn’t brought on a surge in new vaccinations, which saw some increase week to week but the number of first-timers coming in for shots remained relatively flat.

About 57% of Hoosiers are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, although rates in the local area lag significantly, by 10 percentage points or greater.

In September, more than 80% of new cases diagnosed were people who had not received vaccination, while more than 90% of hospitalizations were people who hadn’t been immunized.

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