Daily update May 17

Noble County recorded its 20th death Saturday, as statewide cases passed 27,000 and deaths approach 1,600.

INDIANAPOLIS — A 20th person has died of COVID-19 in Noble County.

That makes it the fifth death in a week, as Noble County recorded deaths on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Noble County continues to battle COVID-19 outbreaks at two nursing homes, which account for the majority of the county’s coronavirus activity. As COVID-19 has proven to be significantly more fatal to older Hoosiers, the virus in long-term care facilities continues to be a major problem.

Noble County’s 20th death came on another day of higher-than-recent deaths across the state, as Indiana recorded 46 deaths, taking its total since March 16 to 1,596.

Whitley County recorded its second death in the past week and the total number of cases grew to 28. As of Saturday, 341 Whitley County residents have been tested. 

No deaths have been reported recently in other area counties. LaGrange and Steuben counties both continue to sit at two deaths and DeKalb County has had one.

New case activity remained slow in the four-county area, with Noble County adding one case to 148 total. LaGrange County also increased one case to 49 overall, while DeKalb County was unchanged at 25. Steuben County decreased one case again, down to 65, which happens when the state reclassifies someone to their correct county of residence.

New cases were more than 600 again for the second day in a row, at 625 new cases, which has ended a short-term lull in cases. Total confirmed cases has now topped 27,000.

Allen County is just shy of a thousand cases at 985, while Elkhart County sits at 638, Kosciusko County has 57 and Whitley County has 28 all-time.

Indiana is now a week away from potentially advancing to Stage 3 of its five-stage opening plan, which could take effect as soon as May 24. In Stage 3, businesses can reopen to slightly larger capacity and gathering sizes are allowed to increase again.

The state is continuing to watch new case and new hospitalization rates, while also continuing to increase testing availability and improve contact tracing to track new cases and quarantine infected people and those close contacts they may have exposed.

On Friday, state officials announced they had hired and trained 500 contact tracers for a statewide call center, which allowed them to contact all new infected patients within 24 hours of test results being return.

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