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What did COVID-19 in 2021 look like in Indiana by the numbers?

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana experienced COVID-19 whiplash throughout 2021 – setting both pandemic lows and record highs for cases and hospital capacity. But what did 2021 look like in Indiana by the numbers?

The winter peak from December 2020 slowed significantly at the start of the new year, as the state began rolling out vaccine appointments for Hoosiers 80 and older. 

The Indiana Department of Health reported 112,874 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in 2020 – but no Hoosiers had received their second dose until Jan. 18, 2021. By the end of 2021, more than 3.5 million Hoosiers are fully vaccinated.

By March 31, when the state opened vaccine appointments to Hoosiers 18 and older, Indiana settled into a summer that set pandemic-low cases, hospitalizations and deaths. June averaged about six deaths, 282 new cases, and a statewide COVID-19 hospital census of 501 per day.

But the delta variant set off a new increase in cases and hospitalizations through the summer – with a brief respite in October.

As the year headed to a close, hospitalizations once again peaked with a second delta wave. Indiana averaged 1,876.2 new cases per day in October and 2,707.3 in November. In December, the state averaged 5,191.1 new cases per day.

The state’s COVID-19 hospital census averaged 2,868.1 patients in December, after eclipsing 3,000 for the first time in 2021 on Dec. 13.

READ MORE: Health officials raise alarm about overwhelmed hospitals ahead of anticipated omicron surge

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IDOH reported its first omicron case on Dec. 19. The delta variant remains the dominant strain in the state, with less than 1 percent of sampled tests reported as omicron – but there is a lag between positive tests and identifying strains.

The state reported 2021’s record high of new cases for Dec. 28, with 7,941 new cases. For Dec. 29, it reported 12,020 new cases. The last two days of 2021 recorded more than 10,000 new cases each day.

For all of 2021, the Indiana Department of Health reported 749,554 COVID-19 cases. 2020’s total was 518,289 – with Indiana reporting its first COVID-19 case in March 2020.

In 2021, 8,928 Hoosiers were confirmed to have died from COVID-19. In 2020 – with data starting in March – the total was 9,505. But it’s important to note: 2021’s total is likely to grow, because deaths are reported over the course of several days or weeks.

Contact Lauren at or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.