INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana counties are showing another small uptick in COVID-19 activity, as cases and positivity have risen for the second straight week.
Overall, 7-in-10 counties are still showing low activity of the virus and remain in the best rating from the Indiana State Department of health, but pockets of new COVID-19 activity are rising, primarily in rural counties.
Locally, LaGrange County lost its blue rating after four straight weeks, rising to yellow for “moderate” spread, while DeKalb County also lost its blue rating after five weeks there.
LaGrange County saw its per-capita case numbers double this past week to 25 per 100,000 from 12 a week ago, while positivity has risen to 6.32% from 1.71%, to give it a yellow rating.
LaGrange County boasts the smallest number of actual cases week-to-week in the four-county area, but also has the lowest number of testing. Throughout 2020, LaGrange County consistently had lower case numbers because it had lower testing numbers, as county Amish populations tended to not seek out COVID-19 testing or treatment even when ill.
DeKalb County has also seen notable rises in both cases and positivity this past week, with per-capita cases increasing to 71 per 100,000 from 43 a week ago, and positivity doubling to 7.74% from 3.62% last week.
DeKalb County Health Officer Dr. Mark Souder has been recently raising early warnings about recent upticks in cases, encouraging local residents to get vaccinated, which will help protect against new infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
While LaGrange and DeKalb counties ticked up a level, Steuben County dropped down to blue from yellow after spending one week at the elevated grade.
Steuben County saw drops in both metrics, with cases declining slightly to 37 per 100,000 from 46 per 100,000 last week, while positivity fell from 6.28% to 3.67%.
Noble County was the only county to continue a blue streak, achieving the best grade for the seventh consecutive week. That being said, Noble County’s numbers are on the rise, too, increasing to 60 cases per 100,000, double from 31 per 100,000 last week, while positivity inched up from 3.23% to 4.05%.
If Noble County were to pass 5% positivity, it would return to a yellow rating.
All four northeast Indiana counties continue to lag the statewide vaccine rate average of 49.5%.
The Indiana State Department of Health has repeatedly noted that breakthrough cases among vaccinated people are proving extremely rare, while almost all new cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus currently occurring are happening among the state’s unvaccinated population.
Those data measures appear to also be echoed by the recent changes in statewide ratings, as primarily rural counties with lower vaccination rates are the ones showing more new case activity.
In total, three counties are now rated orange for “high” spread of the virus, with 22 in yellow for moderate spread. Those are increases from one orange and 17 yellow the week before.
Of the counties currently in orange and yellow, most are concentrated in rural areas in north-central and western Indiana, although metro-Evansville and surrounding counties in the southwest corner of the state are also higher on the scale currently.
Although not changing from blue to yellow yet, numerous counties in Indiana have recently been showing upticks in new cases and positivity.