INDIANAPOLIS — Another day, another all-time one-day cases record.

For the fourth time in the last eight days, Indiana set a new all-time high for single day new cases of COVID-19, surging over 2,000 for the first time.

According to Friday’s daily report from the Indiana State Department of Health, the state logged 2,283 new cases of COVID-19. That surpassed the previous all-time high of 1,943, set just the day before on Thursday.

Indiana set one-day high point for new cases on Oct. 9, then again on Oct. 10, then Thursday and now Friday.

The new high point came with a caveat, however, as the state noted that the results include “approximately 300 cases whose reporting was delayed due to a technical issue over the past few days.” Even still, subtracting 300 cases from Friday’s total would still put it slightly above the Thursday mark.

The record-high cases return came on a day of above-average testing numbers as the state topped 30,000 total tests. It’s just the fifth time testing has hit that level and only the second time it crossed 30,000 without a one-day data dump when a new lab was onboarded onto the state’s reporting system.

However, even with the very high testing numbers, the state’s positivity rate was still 7.5% for Friday, down a little bit from Thursday’s return but still far above the 5% benchmark set by the state and above the seven-day average.

The takeaway is that COVID-19 is simply circulating more widely, even as testing increases, new cases are outpacing those increases.

That was also illustrated this week when the state saw a significantly worsening in its county ratings, with 22 of 92 counties rated in the orange and red for moderate to high and high spread of COVID-19. By comparison, only 24 counties were in the blue, the best rating representing low spread of the virus.

Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana State Health Department Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver both made pleas to Hoosiers on Wednesday to recommit to mask use, social distancing and other safety precautions to attempt to stem even wider spread of the virus.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box had announced she tested positive for the virus, which she contracted via her grandson from an infection that occurred at his daycare.

That state also saw 22 more deaths in Friday’s report, the second straight day of 20-plus deaths.

So far in October, the state is averaging 15.5 deaths per day, notably higher than September’s average of 10.9 deaths per day. The monthly average is creeping almost as high as June’s, when the state lost an average of 16 Hoosiers per day.

Deaths had been as low as slightly under 10 per day in July and crept up a little but held in the 10 range throughout August and September. That’s changed, however, as the state has entered October and seen a significant shift in COVID-19 activity.

Statewide hospitalizations have come down slightly to a total admitted census of 1,311 patients, but had been as high as 1,357 earlier this week, the highest number of hospitalizations the state has seen since May.

Locally, cases continue to rise sharply in some counties but showed a slowdown in others.

Noble County added another 16 cases as of Friday’s report, while Steuben County was up 14 cases. LaGrange County increased six cases while DeKalb County was up five.

As a whole, state Health District 3, which includes the four-county area, Allen and Whitley counties and five counties to south of those, continues to see a meteoric increase in cases recently.

The 11-county region has gone from an average of 86 new cases per day on Oct. 2 to 185 cases per day average in less than two weeks time.

No new deaths were reported in the four-county area and the region actually had its counts revised to remove on death that was previously listed.

Steuben County’s deaths decreased from nine to eight, as the state removed a death from Oct. 3 from the county’s total.

Death or case numbers drop typically when the state reclassifies a case to a correct county of residence for that person. Typically that adjustment comes within a day or two of being reported, so it’s unclear why the state removed the death from Steuben County’s total about a week after it first showed up.

In total, Noble County has had 34 deaths to date, followed by LaGrange County at 14, DeKalb County at 11 and Steuben County at eight.

The DeKalb County Health Department has stated that it had 16 total patients die from COVID-19, but that number has never been reflected in the statewide report. The Indiana State Department of Health matches death claims with test results and reviews the cause of death before classifying a case as a COVID-19 death.

Cases that look like COVID-19 but are missing a piece of that verification may be labeled as a “probable death,” which is not included in the state’s official count. Indiana has 233 probable deaths tracked since March.

It’s unknown whether the discrepancy in the local and state numbers for DeKalb County’s death are due to some ongoing delay or whether the state has chosen not to classify some deaths officially from there.
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