INDIANAPOLIS — COVID-19 is making a comeback in Indiana, which is being demonstrated most clearly by sharper rising hospitalizations occurring over the last week.
Cases and positivity continue to rise too as the state is seeing more and more delta variant cases and the virus once again begins to more rapidly spread among the state’s unvaccinated population.
The days of record lows set in June are well behind the state now as Indiana has seen increasing activity every week since hitting those all-time lows.
Cases continue to shoot upward, rising 37% from a week ago. Last week, the state averaged 510 cases per day over the previous seven days. This week, it’s 697 cases per day.
Positivity has risen sharply too. Two weeks ago, positivity averaged 3.6% over the week, rising to 4.3% last week and now at 5.1% this past week.
The rise in cases haven’t been just mild cases among young people, either, as the state is seeing a higher number of new admissions to statewide hospitals.
After hanging around 400 patients in treatment any given day from mid-June through mid-July, Indiana is now seeing a consistent rise in new hospitalizations.
As of this week, 685 patients are admitted for treatment for COVID-19, a 72% increase from just two weeks ago.
The only metric that isn’t showing an increase at this time is deaths, which averaged just two per day over the past week, among the lowest weekly totals.
That being said, deaths is usually a lagging indicator, rising one to two weeks after hospitalizations and other metrics increase first.
Almost all of this new COVID-19 activity is occurring among the state’s unvaccinated population, which now makes up just slightly under half of all Hoosiers age 12 and older, while children under 12 aren’t eligible to be vaccinated at this time.
Since January, 98%-plus new cases, hospitalizations and deaths have occurred among unvaccinated Hoosiers.
Breakthrough cases remain rare — of the 2.93 million Hoosiers fully vaccinated against COVID-19, there have been just 2,720 documented cases of a COVID-19 infection occurring after vaccination since January.
For comparison, there were 4,879 new cases documented this past week.
There have been 46 breakthrough deaths, with 42 of those patients being older than 65. The average age of patients who have died from a breakthrough case is 79. Health officials have said older people are most likely to experience a breakthrough case, as the immune system may be too weak to marshal a defense even with help from vaccine antibodies.
The state is seeing a recent assault from the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, which was first identified in India. That variant is known to be more infectious than the original strain of COVID-19 as well as more dangerous to patients, including young patients usually spared serious illness.
Of the cases diagnosed this month, 81% have been sequenced as the delta variant, a 42% increase from the previous month.
Northeast Indiana, which greatly lags the statewide average in vaccinations, hasn’t been immune from the increase.
Whitley County has had 28 new cases in the past week.
Noble County logged 65 new cases of the virus this past week, while DeKalb had 48 new cases and LaGrange 11, all three of which were increases compared to the previous seven-day period. Steuben County logged 31 cases, which was similar to its 33 last week.
Hospitalizations throughout the northeast Indiana health district have also shown an increase. The region had as few as 16 patients in treatment back on June 29, but that’s since risen to 80 people laid up in hospitals, the highest mark this region has seen since coming out of a small spike in late April/early May.