The Journal Gazette
Thursday, February 18, 2021 1:00 am

559 deaths added via care facilities

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – State health officials announced Wednesday the state discovered 559 additional long-term care resident deaths, and also updated the state's vaccination efforts.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the long-term care deaths were discovered during some cross-referencing of deaths. They are not new deaths and are already counted in the state's overall total.

But they weren't assigned to nursing home facilities as required. The revelation impacts 273 facilities and will officially be added to the state dashboard today. As of Tuesday, there were 5,212 resident deaths.

After adding the additional 559, those deaths account for 49% of the state's death total.

“Our long-term care residents have borne the heaviest burden,” Box said. She and Gov. Eric Holcomb also lauded Indiana's positivity rate dropping below 5%.

Indiana added 933 new cases and 20 new deaths. Allen County reported 74 new cases and one new death.

There are no counties in the red advisory level and 11 – including LaGrange – are in blue, the lowest level of spread. Locally, Allen, Wells, Adams, Noble, Kosciusko, and Wabash counties are in yellow. DeKalb, Steuben, Whitley and Huntington counties are in orange.

Dr. Lindsay Weaver also announced that 172 vaccine doses out of 1.3 million have been wasted. She said many of those were caused by a vial or syringe breaking. Wednesday's numbers show 834,478 Hoosiers have received their first dose, with 356,204 fully vaccinated.

Because of snow shifting appointments and vaccine shipments being delayed, Weaver said the state is not yet opening up new eligibility. She hopes to add those aged 60 to 64 next week. More than 60% of eligible populations have received or scheduled appointments for vaccinations.

Holcomb was asked again about the state not prioritizing teachers after Vice President Kamala Harris said they should be. He said he wants teachers vaccinated as soon as the state gets enough doses.

“Right now we are going at this from who is dying,” Holcomb said.

New cases

Adams County: 0

Allen: 74 (1 death)

DeKalb: 16

Huntington: 13

Kosciusko: 13 (1)

LaGrange: 2

Noble: 15

Steuben: 2

Wabash: 4

Wells: 3

Whitley: 9

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

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