Daily update June 23

LaGrange County passed 400 all-time COVID-19 cases, representing more than 1% of the county population. That gives LaGrange County the fifth-highest per-capita case rate of Indiana’s 92 counties.

INDIANAPOLIS — More than 1% of LaGrange County’s population has tested positive for coronavirus all-time, one of only five counties in Indiana to cross that threshold.

LaGrange County added 12 more cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to the Indiana State Department of Health’s midday report.

At 408 cases, LaGrange County has passed 1% of its population with known cases, sitting at 103 cases per 10,000 residents, or 1.03 per 100.

As the state report only captures known cases — those who have tested positive for COVID-19 — and many cases are known to have gone either undiagnosed or been carried asymptomatically, total exposure in the county is likely higher.

The increase put LaGrange County at No. 5 overall of Indiana’s 92 counties for per-capita case rate. Only White County (1.033%), Marion County (1.138%), neighboring Elkhart County (1.292%) and Cass County (4.312%), the site of a massive outbreak at a Tyson Foods plant, have higher per-capita rates.

By comparison, Noble County’s per-capita rate is 0.788%, 0.321% in Steuben County and 0.32% in DeKalb County.

Noble County’s rate is also above the statewide per-capita rate, which sits at approximately 0.64%.

While Noble and DeKalb counties also saw a sharp increase in cases after Memorial Day, those two counties have slowed in recent days back to slow growth in cases similar to before the holiday. LaGrange County is an exception, with the county continuously posting double-digit case increases almost daily for about a month.

The county has logged about 350 new cases since the holiday. LaGrange County overtook Noble County for the most cases in the four-county area on Saturday and has widened the gap since.

Close to 1-in-5 residents testing positive in LaGrange County are ending up in a hospital, with a recent hospitalization rate slightly above 18%. That’s been on par with the recent state rate, but higher than neighboring counties in the region.

Tuesday broke a four-day streak of deaths in LaGrange County and also no new deaths reported anywhere in the four-county area. Prior to Tuesday, LaGrange County recorded one new death each day from Friday through Monday.

Noble County still leads with 27 deaths — most attributable to outbreaks in nursing homes the county battled throughout April and May — with LaGrange County now at six deaths, DeKalb County at four and Steuben County at two.

On a statewide level, COVID-19 has shown signs of slowing. Indiana’s daily averages in June have dropped to 361 cases and 19 deaths per day, down from 531 cases and 30 deaths daily in May.

A second phase of results from a statewide study by the IUPUI Fairbanks School of Public Health presented last week showed fewer active infections in its sample population, suggesting that the virus is not transmitting at as fast a rate as it had been during the first round of study in April.

That being said, northern Indiana’s health District 2, which includes Elkhart County, and District 3, which includes the four-county area and Allen County as well as six other regional counties, did not show that same level of improvement.

While Indiana’s overall positivity rate — the percentage of positive tests returned on a given day — has been below 4% for the past week, LaGrange County has been recently returning daily positivity rates upward of 30%.

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