The Indiana State Department of Health on Monday morning said the number of presumptive positive cases for COVID-19 in the state has risen to 1,786 after the emergence of 272 more cases. As those numbers continue to rise, Indiana’s top health official says the state could still be a month away from the peak of coronavirus infections.
Indiana has reported 805 new cases over the past three days. The death toll in the state has risen to 35, up from 32 the previous day.
The department reported that 11,658 people have been tested so far, up from 9,830 in Sunday’s report. The ISDH said the test numbers reflect only those tests reported to the department, and the numbers should not be characterized as a comprehensive total.
Marion County reported 804 cases — up 128 cases from the previous day — with 12 deaths.
Every county in the Indianapolis area has at least a dozen cases each: Hamilton (106), Johnson (81), Hendricks (58), Boone (20), Hancock (28), Madison (29), Morgan (23) and Shelby (13).
Deaths have been reported in Allen (1), Dearborn (1), Delaware (1), Fayette (1), Franklin (4), Hancock (1), Hendricks (1), Howard (1), Jasper (1), Johnson (3), Lake (1), Madison (1), Marion (12), Morgan (1), Putnam (1), St. Joseph (1), Scott (1), Tippecanoe (1) and Vigo (1) counties.
Health officials say Indiana has far more coronavirus cases — likely thousands more — than those indicated by the number of tests.
Outside central Indiana, counties with the most cases include Lake (97), Decatur (42), St. Joseph (36), Franklin (28), Allen (28), Clark (27), Monroe (26), Ripley (25) and Floyd (20).
The state said 97.1% of those who have died in the state were 50 and older; 85.7% were 60 and older; 68.6% were 70 and older; and 40% were 80 and older. More than 65% of those who died were male.
As of Monday morning, 143,055 cases had been reported in the United States, with 2,513 deaths, according to a tally maintained by health researchers at Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. More than 737,900 cases have been reported globally, with 34,830 deaths. More than 156,500 people have recovered.
State Department of Health coronavirus updates are available here. The health department is providing updated data daily at 10 a.m. EDT based on results received through midnight.
Meanwhile, Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said the projected illness peak is expected in mid- to late April in Indiana. She said the Indiana projection was based on modeling by state agencies and considered how the virus has spread in other states.
“We are already seeing some patients sick but we’re not seeing a big uptick in EMS calls for patients with respiratory illness,” Box said. “So we still think we are a little bit in the calm before the storm. But we know that’s coming and are prepared for that.”
A statewide stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Eric Holcomb took effect Wednesday, with exemptions for essential businesses to remain open and for necessary trips for food and medicine.
COVID-19 testing has been limited around the state, but Holcomb said the locations of confirmed cases show the virus has spread to all parts of Indiana.
“We don’t see the peak yet, these numbers are compounding,” Holcomb said. “This is like a snowball that’s rolling downhill and getting bigger and bigger and bigger.”
Holcomb and Box declined again Friday to release any details about the intensive care unit capacity of hospitals and availability of ventilators around the state. Hospitals in New York, Europe and elsewhere have been overwhelmed by serious COVID-19 illnesses and some states, including Illinois, have been releasing updates such as the number of occupied hospital beds and ventilators in use and projections on what medical services will be needed if the pandemic isn’t contained.
Holcomb said he had seen Indiana statistics on medical service availability but that he was respecting agreements with individual hospitals to not release data. He said he would “look toward” providing statewide or regional information.
“We’ll make sure that the public knows as we approach the surge that we … know is coming,” Holcomb said. “Right now we know that we have the inventory to handle where we are today. When we get closer to those numbers spiking and closer to that peak, we’ll keep the public informed of alternative measures that we may have to take.”
Democratic governor candidate Woody Myers said more transparency was needed.
“We know much more about the status of the pandemic in Illinois, New York and California than we do about Indiana,” Myers, who is a doctor and former state health commissioner, said in a statement.
“There’s zero reason not to make this critical information available right now. Health care professionals need to know, but it should also be available to all Hoosiers.”
State health officials have said they are targeting tests for health care workers and others most at risk.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
The Indiana data includes no information about how many health care workers have been infected.