New Indiana COVID-19 cases dropping, in contrast to warm weather states

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As the country begins to reopen after months of lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic, some states, including Texas, Florida and Arizona, have seen major spikes in new cases.

But in Indiana, the number of new cases is trending down, even as thousands more Hoosiers get tested every day for the disease.

Over the first 22 days of June, the Indiana State Department of Health has reported an average daily increase of about 355 cases. That compares to an average of about 539 per day during the first 22 days of May. Meanwhile, average daily testing during those same time periods has risen from 4,951 to 6,955.

The rate of those testing positive for COVID-19 has been steadily decreasing as testing numbers have risen, from a peak of nearly 20% on April 4 to less than 10.2% on Monday.

In addition, on Monday, the Indiana State Department of Health reported the smallest increase in number of new cases since late March. It reported a rise of 210 cases, for a cumulative total of 42,633. The death toll rose to 2,363, up 13.

The state’s testing capacity has risen dramatically. On June 15, for example, the state recorded 11,175 daily tests, up from 3,879 on April 22.

In recent weeks, state health officials have begun pushing all Hoosiers who want to get tested for COVID-19 to visit one of more than 200 test sites across the state. The test sites are operated in conjunction with several partners, including OptumServe, Eli Lilly and Co. and numerous private laboratories.

The widespread testing is a dramatic departure from the early days of the pandemic when state officials reserved the tests for people with symptoms or those who had come in contact with other known positive cases.

“Any Hoosier that wants to be tested can be tested at no cost through one of our OptumServe sites or an (Indiana State Department of Health) drive-thru clinic,” Dr. Kristina Box, state health commissioner, said during Gov. Eric Holcomb’s weekly press briefing on June 17.

As testing has increased, so have reporting errors. The state health department acknowledges that the “new cases” number it reports daily isn’t accurate because it contains numerous duplicates; that number has been over-reporting cases by as much as 20% or more lately when compared to the actual rise in cumulative cases. On Saturday, for instance, the department reported 411 new cases, but the cumulative number went up only 315.

Even so, Indiana’s figures stand in stark contrast to the recent spikes in the American West and South. The percentage of people testing positive for the virus in Florida rose from about 4.2% on June 7 to more than 8% on June 14, the most recent data available, according to the Florida Department of Health.

In Arizona, the rate has risen as well, with more than 2,000 new cases per day for about a week.

In Indiana, however, the number of new cases has hovered fairly steadily between 250 and 400 a day since the beginning of June.

“I think this week’s going to really be a pivotal week for us to get a picture of where things are heading in states like Florida and Arizona and Texas, whether or not they’re tipping over into exponential growth,” former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday. “The problem with exponential growth is, everything looks sort of OK until all of a sudden it doesn’t.”

Indiana’s daily hospital admissions for COVID-19 have been falling, from a high of 163 on March 31 to 70 on June 15. Since the beginning of June, the number of daily hospital admissions has hovered fairly steadily between 50 and 80, according to the Regenstrief Institute.

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7 thoughts on “New Indiana COVID-19 cases dropping, in contrast to warm weather states

  1. Testing is crucial as recommended by all of the experts. It definitely appears that that more tests have been done as more testing sites have been established. However, the numbers can be deceiving. It would be very important to differentiate between just tests done and the number of different individuals who have been tested. For Instance, are we seeing more tests being done in individuals who have to get tested regularly for their work (e.g. some health care workers)? Is repeated testing just part of an individual’s illness to document the presence of the virus in an illness consistent of Covid-19? In the convalescence from COVID-19, how many tests are being done to demonstrate that the patient is “free” of the virus. Are we seeing more individuals being tested maybe as result of contact tracing? The State’s COVID-19 website ought to differentiate between the number of tests done with the number of individuals tested. Until more of our citizens are tested (and not just the number of tests done), we will not have an adequate handle on extent of COVID-19 in our State. The antibody tests (to detect prior exposure to the virus) are not ready for “prime time.” The epidemiology studies that are being conducted by IU are useful for general picture of the pandemic in our State. However, the State should take the lead and REALLY finance and implement a much more extensive testing and contact tracing plan than it has already has done so far. This is the time for the State to REALLY take our public health more seriously. Indiana needs a “Dr. Fauci” to lead the way!!!!!!!!!!

    1. The sky is falling! All the data to date has been political on both sides. Facilities are profiting from COVID reimbursement. I don’t expect us to receive honest closed data sets. This is turning into the Biggest Lie in decades.

    1. … because they’ve been listening to the experts.

      Keep Indiana open, wear a mask.

    1. Pretty sure experts said early on that would not be the case, but non-experts like Trump kept repeating it would.

  2. Deaths seem to have remained constant. And so does ICU hospital usage. Last week there was a jump back into the 20’s…. now back into the low teens. It’s my understanding that death toll and hospital ICU usage for Covid are THE key indicators. So, what gives if all is well? Why aren’t those dropping?