Indiana virus spread surges while many remain unvaccinated

The number of counties at or approaching high risk for community spread of COVID-19 is surging as an especially contagious coronavirus variant spreads in Indiana, where nearly half of the eligible population remains unvaccinated.

Posted: Aug 11, 2021 4:30 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The number of counties at or approaching high risk for community spread of COVID-19 is surging as an especially contagious coronavirus variant spreads in Indiana, where nearly half of the eligible population remains unvaccinated.

On Monday, 43 counties were in Indiana’s second-riskiest category for the spread of the virus, up from 29 counties a week earlier, according to the most recent update posted Wednesday on the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

Indiana’s color-coded coronavirus risk map reflects weekly COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and the seven-day positivity rate.

The number of counties in the highest-risk red category, which indicates very high community spread, jumped to eight after Posey County became the first in more than six months to receive the rating last week.

Forty counties are listed as moderate-risk, or yellow. Eastern Indiana’s Randolph County is the only one that is blue — low risk.

The county ratings have gone downhill in a matter of weeks. On June 26, 86 of Indiana’s 92 counties were in the blue category, and six were in yellow. No counties were listed in the orange or red categories.

The state’s weekly dashboard update also indicated more than three times as many hospitalizations compared to late June when patient counts were below 400 — the lowest since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly 1,300 Hoosiers were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to the most recent data released by the state health department. Of those, 305 were in intensive care, the most since Feb. 5.

Indiana recorded 2,507 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, up from 1,725 one week ago, and marking the fourth straight weekday over 2,000 reported cases of the virus.

Tests conducted this month on a sample of Indiana’s cases showed that as of Wednesday, 82% of them were the delta variant, the dashboard showed.

Indiana’s top health officials have warned that the highly contagious delta variant will continue to spread if vaccination rates do not improve. As of Tuesday, 51% of Indiana’s eligible population — those age 12 and up — was fully vaccinated, according to the state health department.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb ended a statewide mask requirement in May, when virus spread had tapered and hospitalizations were on the decline. The governor said last month that he’s concerned about the delta variant, but maintained he would leave decisions about mask requirements in schools up to local officials.

School districts across Indiana are reassessing their back-to-school plans, with dozens updating their guidance to require masks as the next academic year begins. That includes several Indianapolis-area schools, which said earlier this summer they would let parents decide if their child needs to wear a mask in class.

Indianapolis Public Schools, the state’s largest district, announced last month it would require masks for all staff and students, regardless of vaccination status. District officials at the nearby Wayne Township Schools district tightened its policy for mask wearing the night before classes started.

After one week of in-person instruction, Southeastern Indiana’s Scott County School District 1 on Tuesday was among the first in the state to announce it would shift to virtual learning for two weeks after an “extremely high rate” of students were placed in coronavirus quarantine. District leadership said they hope to return to in-person learning by Aug. 23.

A week earlier, East Central Indiana’s Anderson Community Schools quarantined more than 100 students due to COVID-19. The district — which is “mask optional” this year — implemented a temporary mask mandate through Aug. 20 in response to the spike.

___

Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1665777

Reported Deaths: 27840
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook63126111168
DuPage1074651374
Will906981118
Lake795261076
Kane68004866
Winnebago40745559
Madison39883590
St. Clair36147591
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Peoria26749368
Sangamon25613284
McLean22871216
Tazewell20525330
Rock Island18699358
Kankakee17795247
Kendall16104113
Macon15222250
LaSalle14954285
Vermilion14202198
Adams13072152
DeKalb12078133
Williamson11998174
Whiteside8247181
Jackson806594
Boone787583
Coles7843121
Ogle752487
Grundy731786
Franklin7276114
Knox7197169
Clinton7095102
Macoupin6893104
Marion6871143
Henry659876
Effingham655499
Jefferson6492142
Livingston594697
Stephenson577592
Woodford573592
Randolph552399
Christian530382
Monroe5236100
Fulton521674
Morgan503899
Logan492574
Montgomery487680
Lee476960
Bureau441189
Saline431769
Perry430375
Fayette428964
Iroquois418177
McDonough372360
Shelby343147
Jersey334253
Crawford330830
Lawrence329932
Douglas324737
Union305448
Wayne299961
White278533
Richland278457
Hancock271935
Clark264939
Cass264730
Pike262658
Clay257354
Edgar255249
Bond255024
Warren242765
Ford242259
Carroll235638
Moultrie228833
Johnson223831
Wabash216619
Jo Daviess214529
Massac213748
Mason211652
Washington211428
Greene204540
De Witt204230
Mercer202235
Piatt200614
Cumberland188526
Menard171013
Jasper160521
Marshall140921
Hamilton133322
Schuyler106410
Brown10589
Pulaski103711
Edwards102518
Stark80928
Gallatin7848
Alexander71312
Scott7116
Henderson69614
Calhoun6862
Hardin59416
Putnam5604
Pope5446
Unassigned1582433
Out of IL90

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 996341

Reported Deaths: 16245
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1343262101
Lake658231151
Allen57160791
Hamilton45963460
St. Joseph43954607
Elkhart35546503
Vanderburgh31975473
Tippecanoe27694256
Johnson24821440
Hendricks23647353
Porter22735362
Madison18538404
Clark18383248
Vigo17274300
Monroe15117197
LaPorte14987249
Delaware14931256
Howard14574286
Kosciusko12166147
Hancock11597175
Bartholomew11447179
Warrick11225188
Floyd10983214
Wayne10840248
Grant9898217
Morgan9361176
Boone8819115
Dubois8210129
Dearborn815492
Henry8107150
Noble7944106
Marshall7786134
Cass7462119
Lawrence7379168
Shelby7115114
Jackson691788
Gibson6480113
Harrison641591
Huntington630299
Knox6269105
DeKalb623796
Montgomery6184109
Miami586595
Putnam573477
Clinton567171
Whitley558055
Steuben550473
Wabash5250101
Jasper520475
Jefferson504695
Ripley492485
Adams472773
Daviess4596112
Scott433968
Greene421196
Wells419787
Clay418460
White414261
Decatur4118101
Fayette402186
Jennings383260
Posey374243
LaGrange352078
Washington352049
Randolph339999
Spencer336442
Fountain331858
Sullivan326652
Starke310868
Owen310169
Fulton304566
Orange290562
Jay278445
Perry264452
Franklin262742
Carroll258232
Rush257232
Vermillion254254
Parke229726
Pike227343
Tipton225659
Blackford187840
Pulaski181155
Crawford158122
Newton155648
Benton150117
Brown144047
Martin137319
Switzerland133911
Warren120116
Union106615
Ohio84012
Unassigned0532