INDIANAPOLIS — Throughout parts of the country, states are seeing a downward trend in COVID-19 cases. On Friday, Indiana health officials reported more than 17,600 new cases, which was also a one-day record for the state.
The state usually updates its COVID-19 Dashboard, Monday through Friday, by 5 p.m. However, a message pointed to a systems outage, causing a delay in numbers for Monday, January 24. Despite the record numbers seen last week, some experts believe Indiana is on the verge of its downward trend.
“The state tells us that northern Indiana has already started to see that decline, but here in central and southern Indiana, still in the midst of a significant peak,” said Dr. Christopher Doehring, VP of medical affairs at Franciscan Health – Central Indiana. Some experts believe that peak could taper off in a couple of weeks, but still warn Hoosiers not to get comfortable just yet.
“Just because we start to trend downward, our positivity in the state is really high, and will remain high for a while. It’s above 30 percent right now,” said Thomas Duszynski, director of epidemiology education at Fairbanks School of Public Health (IUPUI).
“A third or more of everyone, who’s getting a test, is testing positive,” he said, “In comparison, we want our positivity to be about 5% as opposed to 35%, where it’s kind of hovering now.” Duszynski says the state’s positivity rate draws concern as it reflects high transmissibility in the community.
“Every time somebody gets infected, there’s an opportunity for a mutation or variant to occur, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important for people to protect themselves.”
“It’s still dangerous to be infected, and people should take those measures, like getting vaccinated and boosted, and wearing masks to protect themselves while out in public,” he added.
Doehring says the anticipated drop in cases could bring some much needed relief for local health care facilities. “If this Omicron surge, as it collapses as it has done in other parts of the world, it would be nice if it leads to a sustained, very low level rate of cases,” said Doehring.
“Hospitals will still be reasonably full because those in-patients don’t get well and discharged overnight,” said Doehring, “but hopefully the emergency departments will be less busy as a result and we can start to catch our breath a little bit.”
Looking ahead to the future, Duszynski says he expects COVID to become endemic for at least the next couple of years. “We’re going to see cases every year and we may need a booster shot every year, just like we do for Influenza,” he said.