Experts say Indiana’s surge in COVID-19 cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations ‘concerns us’

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Department of Health reported 1,589 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the lowest number reported since last Wednesday.

On Saturday, the state reported a major increase with over 2,500 cases. That’s the most cases Indiana has reported in a day since the start of the pandemic.

“We expect this trend to continue for a while. We don’t see any sign of cases flattening or going down,” said Regenstrief Institute Director of Public Health Informatics Dr. Brian Dixon.

There are many factors when it comes to tracking the trend of COVID-19 in Indiana, including the rising number of hospitalizations and who is becoming infected. This summer, it was a lot of those under the age of 20 being infect, but now there’s been an increase in people over 40 catching the virus.

“That concerns us because those are the individuals who are more likely to have underlying health conditions that send them to the hospital,” said Dr. Dixon.

While the rising number of cases and hospitalizations are alarming, we asked Dr. Dixon what other statistics are important when it comes to tracking where we stand.

“One is the overall percentage of tests that are performed each day that come back as positive. And I would say anything over 5% is still alarming,” explained Dr. Dixon.

Currently, the state reports a 6.5% positivity rate based on population. Then you have the number of unique individuals testing positive, which is now at 11.8%. This shows the new cases being detected and do not include multiple tests from the same person.

We asked Governor Eric Holcomb what it would take to reverse Phase 5, but the response wasn’t exactly clear. 

“We have the capacity to care. So, when that starts to become threatened, that capacity to care, then we’ll look at additional measures,” said Governor Holcomb (R).

However, Dr. Dixon says as people flock inside as it begins to get cold and as pandemic fatigue continues, he urges Hoosiers not to let their guard down.

“Unfortunately, because there is widespread community infection happening it’s going to be a little while before we’re able to go back to normal. So, people really need to continue to practice social distancing and take precautions because we’re not through this yet,” explained Dr. Dixon.

Indiana is not alone in its surge. 38 states reported an increase in cases over the last two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci says following the public health measures is the only way out of this crisis.

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