The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, September 09, 2020 1:00 am

Positivity rates continuing to rise in region


A majority of northeast Indiana counties have COVID-19 positivity rates still on an upswing, according to newly public state health statistics.

As of Aug. 30, the latest data available, seven of 11 area counties – Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange and Steuben recorded increased positivity percentages – roughly the percentage of all people tested who test positive.

But positivity rates declined in Noble, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.

One county, DeKalb, was flagged in the state data “due to a large number of the weekly cases being attributable to congregate settings” – large gatherings. DeKalb's seven-day positivity rate for all tests was 10.17% as of Aug. 30.

DeKalb health officials reported an additional 18 people had tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Patients ranged in age from 15 to 94, county health officials reported, bringing the total to 392 cases and seven deaths.

The other increasing counties' rates are Adams, 10.97%; Allen, 8.63%; Huntington, 3.83%; Kosciusko, 13.1%; LaGrange, 9.1%; and Steuben, 6.38%.

Area counties whose numbers are subsiding are Noble, 5.96%; Wabash, 3.47%; Wells, 7.68%; and Whitley, 6.97%.

Positivity rates became an issue when U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams visited Fort Wayne in mid-August and told local health officials Allen County's rate, then hovering around 12%, was too high and in “a danger zone.”

Positivity rates also were part of the data considered by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, when he issued a warning last week that Indiana was one of seven states at risk for a surge in cases tied to gatherings during the Labor Day weekend.

Health experts say positive cases can turn up two or more weeks after an exposure.

Allen County reported 39 new cases Tuesday, bringing the total cases to 5,370, while deaths remained at 182.

Statewide, 394 new cases and 12 new deaths were reported, bringing the totals to 100,780 cases and 3,156 deaths.

The state's seven-day positivity rate is 5.3% and its overall positivity rate 6.6%.

Indications Tuesday were that area positivity rates might be trending down a bit, with three below the 5% level considered favorable for safer reopening. All were less than 10%.

The state's new cases represent a large drop. As recently as Sept. 4, nearly 1,100 cases were reported statewide in a single day. The number of tests performed also has dropped in the latest reporting.

State officials last week urged people to stay vigilant to avoid a surge in cases as was seen after the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays.

At a glance

New COVID-19 cases in area counties (with totals in parentheses)

Adams: 4 (199)

Allen: 39 (5,370)

DeKalb: 18 (392)

Huntington: 2 (185)

Kosciusko: 6 (1,099)

LaGrange: 0 (618)

Noble: 4 (841)

Steuben: 1 (318)

Wabash: 0 (231)

Wells: 1 (223)

Whitley: 2 (233)

Sources: Indiana State Department of Health, Allen County Department of Health, DeKalb County Health Department

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