Pulaski, Starke counties join LaGrange, Fulton in ‘red’ on Indiana’s COVID-19 map

Sep 29, 2021

Credit Indiana Department of Health

Four WVPE listener counties are now in the “red” category on Indiana’s COVID-19 tracking map, with Starke and Pulaski joining Fulton and LaGrange in that category, which indicates unchecked community spread of the virus, this week.

All other WVPE listener counties — St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall, Kosciusko and LaPorte — stayed in the “orange” category, which indicates high spread of the virus.

But things may be improving statewide.

The vast majority of Indiana counties are still in the “orange,” but four are now in the “yellow,” indicating moderate spread of the virus. That’s up from just one last week. Thirteen counties are in the “red” — but that’s a big decrease from 25 last week.

On Wednesday, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the number of COVID-19 cases per day and average positivity rate is starting to come down, but that improvements will not necessarily be steady and that the state’s hospital system is still stretched to the limit.

Statewide COVID cases have been declining since Sept. 14, where they hit a seven-day moving average peak of just over 4,100. The seven-day moving average now stands at just under 2,800.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Healthcare District 2, which covers most of the WVPE listening area, have decreased from their peak of 179 on Sept. 20. But they seem to have plateaued around 140 as of Tuesday.

And about 17 percent of area ICU beds are available — a decrease from 19 percent last week.

Indiana exceeded 15,000 COVID deaths on Tuesday, adding 1,000 in just four weeks. And younger Hoosiers made up a larger share of those deaths.

The statewide surge in cases has been driven by the highly contagious Delta variant and underwhelming levels of vaccination.

According to the state’s vaccine dashboard, 55.6 percent of Hoosiers aged 12 and over have been fully vaccinated. But vaccination rates vary widely by zip code.

Every Indiana county has “high” community spread of the virus according to the Centers for Disease Control, meaning both vaccinated and unvaccinated Hoosiers should wear masks indoors.

And WVPE’s three Michigan counties — Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph — also have “high” community spread.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

If you appreciate this kind of journalism on your local NPR station, please support it by donating here.