AUBURN — The DeKalb County Health Department on Tuesday reported six new cases of COVID-19 of DeKalb County residents.

They raise the county’s total to 431 cases since March and 80 so far in September. The county recorded one case in March, 19 in April, 18 in May, 121 in June, 56 in July and 137 in August.

Monday’s new patients are ages 1, 23, 27, 34 and 48, all recovering at their homes, and a 74-year-old who is hospitalized, a news release said.

Data from the Regenstrief Institute shows 44 DeKalb County residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 15 admitted to intensive-care units.

DeKalb County has reported 12 deaths from COVID-19.

The health department recently issued an expanded set of guidelines for county residents:

• Masks are essential in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in asymptomatic people.

• Avoid groups where social distancing is not possible or is not being done.

• Keeping schools, restaurants and businesses open necessitates all of us teaming up and masking up.

• Lives can be saved and hospitalizations reduced through community teamwork.

• Please follow Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order requiring face masks in public settings.

• Continue to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines.

State positivity drops

Tuesday’s statewide COVID-19 positivity rate was down at one of its lowest points as cases were low despite high testing.

Whether it’s a one-day blip or Indiana is maybe turning a corner down off a plateau of high figures will take more time to tell.

In Tuesday’s daily report from the Indiana State Department of Health, statewide new COVID-19 cases totaled 689, down compared to Monday.

Testing was up at 17,714 tests, similar to Monday’s number and higher than the August average. That meant a positivity rate on Tuesday of 3.89%, lower than recent days and below the 5% threshold that state health officials want to stay below.

The one-day positive rate hasn’t dipped below 4% since Aug. 10, and then it was only for one day. However, after running in the 5-6% range in late August, recently daily positivity rates have been running around 4-5%, showing some improvement.

That being said, the decrease in positivity has been driven primarily by increases in testing, as the average of cases per day so far in September is nearly identical to the average across August, 869 cases per day compared to 873 per day on average in August.

Still, that recent reduction in positivity as testing has gone up is a positive sign, because it may show that case counts have maxed out at this level and that there are not simply cases going undetected because the state is not testing as much.

Tuesday’s statewide report did log 20 deaths, although it’s not unusual for the state to have a large number of deaths reported early in the week after reporting and verification lags from over the weekend.

Locally, changes in cases counts were somewhat muted Tuesday, with DeKalb County adding six cases, Noble County reporting four more, Steuben County adding just one and LaGrange County having no change from the previous day.

DeKalb County’s death count was updated from nine to 10 in the state report, although the DeKalb County Health Department had reported three deaths on Friday, taking the count to 12, so it appears the state dashboard is still catching up. DeKalb County’s health department hasn’t indicated any new deaths this week after having five logged last week.

No other counties had new deaths reported. Noble County remains at 32 overall, followed by DeKalb County at 12, LaGrange County at 11 and Steuben County at seven.

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