Allen County returned to the most serious COVID-19 category today, and, as a result, county health officials have reimposed tighter gathering restrictions.
Dr. Matthew Sutter, county health commissioner, reimposed the red restrictions lifted Dec. 31, after the county spent two consecutive weeks in orange.
Red is the most serious COVID-19 level in the state's color-coded system and signals high levels of virus spread in the community. Orange is the second-most serious.
Sutter said Allen County cases and seven-day positivity rates have inched upward after a lull, and the county is expected to be in the red when the state does its weekly update today.
Sutter said a post-Thanksgiving surge of infections requiring hospitalization did not materialize. However, health care workers are anticipating a post-Christmas and New Year's increase, he said, because it typically takes 10 to 14 days for an infection to show up.
But local hospitals are no longer “on the brink” of becoming overwhelmed, as they were in November, Sutter said.
While the county is in red, bars, restaurants and fitness centers are required to operate at 50% of capacity, with other safety protocols in place. Social gatherings and events are limited to 25 people.
Collegiate and professional sports organizers seeking attendance at sporting events not already defined in Gov. Eric Holcomb's order must submit a safety plan to the Allen County Department of Health for approval at least seven days in advance.
Allen County health officials Tuesday reported an additional 202 COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 31,037. Five more residents were reported to have died. Deaths of county residents now stand at 518.
Also as of Tuesday, the state's new cases number 3,191, with the total at 570,477. New deaths number 88, with the total confirmed deaths 8,731, plus an additional 373 deaths based on symptoms but without a positive test result.
Allen County's seven-day positivity rate stood at 15.9%, Tuesday, meaning that 15.9% of COVID-19 tests came back positive in the week that ended Jan. 5. The state's positivity figure also was at 15.9% on Tuesday.
Fifteen percent is one of the triggers for red status, which represents widespread spread of the virus in the community.
The order will extend until the county drops to orange status and remains there for two consecutive weeks.
“As we expect Allen County to again shift to the state's red category this week, we believe ongoing limits are needed in spaces where spread is more likely,” Sutter said. He urged residents to “continue being vigilant with public health measures that work to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”
Adams County: 10
Allen: 201 (3 deaths)
Huntington: 17 (1)
Wells: 8 (1)
Whitley: 28 (1)
Sources: Indiana State Department of Health, Allen County Department of Health, DeKalb County Health Department