All but 4 Indiana counties in higher transmission categories for COVID-19 spread

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS – All but four Indiana counties are in the higher transmission categories for COVID-19 spread in the state’s latest weekly map.

The color-coded map has steadily shown more red and orange over the last few weeks as COVID-19 cases have surged.

State health officials have attributed the increase to the rapid spread of the delta variant; the health department said 98.4% of samples tested this month were for delta.

Case numbers and hospitalizations are at levels not seen since Indiana was coming down from its winter peak in mid-to-late January, according to data from the Indiana State Department of Health.

State’s weekly COVID-19 transmission map for Sept. 1, 2021

This week’s map showed only four counties in yellow for moderate community spread: LaGrange, Monroe, Newton and Porter. Meantime, 13 counties are in the red category denoting high community spread: Brown, Franklin, Jennings, Knox, Lawrence, Orange, Parke, Posey, Pulaski, Spencer, Sullivan, Union and Warrick.

The remaining 75 Indiana counties are in the orange category representing “moderate to high” community spread.

The change since the end of June is stunning; the state’s weekly map from June 30 showed six counties in yellow with the other 86 in blue for minimal community spread. Two months later, 95% of Indiana counties are in the two higher transmission categories.

The June 30 map (left) compared to the September 1 map (right)

The state’s COVID-19 map is based on two metrics:

  • The number of new cases in the past week per 100,000 residents
  • Percent positivity as determined by the number of positive tests divided by the total number of tests administered

Each metric receives a score of 0-3 and the average of the two scores will be the county’s score for the week.

The different color codes range from minimal community spread (blue) to high community spread (red). The map also includes alerts for counties that have been flagged due to a large number of weekly cases.

Blue (minimal community spread)

  • Schools operate all grades in person but limit activities where social distancing is not feasible
  • Extra-curricular activities to follow local and state guidelines, including distancing and masks, and limit spectators
  • Outreach to encourage public to continue with precautions

Yellow (moderate community spread)

  • Schools continue all grades in person but increase vigilance in distancing, hand hygiene and masks
  • No assemblies or activities if social distancing is not feasible
  • Postpone or cancel extra-curricular activities as warranted, consider allowing only parents or close family to attend athletic and other events
  • Work with local health department to determine if increased precautions and public outreach should begin to halt the spread

Orange (moderate to high community spread)

  • Grade schools continue in-person; strong recommendation for hybrid learning for middle and high school students
  • No assemblies or large group activities
  • Strong recommendation to limit extra-curricular activities and have competitors and participants only, with no in-person attendees
  • Discussions with parents about limiting social events outside of school
  • County education leaders work with local health department to consider implementing aggressive prevention efforts in schools and communities

Red (high community spread)

  • Grade schools remain in-person or consider hybrid learning; middle and high school students consider virtual learning
  • No assemblies or large group activities
  • Extracurricular activities canceled
  • Discourage social events
  • County education leaders work with local health department to consider implementing aggressive prevention efforts in schools and communities.

It’s also worth noting that all Indiana counties are red under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention transmission map. The trend isn’t limited solely to the Hoosier state; the vast majority of counties in neighboring states are also read, aside from a handful in Michigan and isolated counties in Illinois and Ohio.

Under revised guidance from the CDC in late July, people who live in counties with high or substantial transmission should wear masks in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.

The CDC’s current transmission map shows a sea of red in Indiana and surrounding states

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