Indiana adds 48 virus deaths as hospitalizations also grow

October 20, 2020 GMT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State health officials on Tuesday added 48 coronavirus-related deaths to Indiana’s toll, which has been growing faster over the past month along with new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

Indiana’s numbers of deaths has grown to 4,008, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus infections, since the state’s first death was reported in mid-March, according to the state health department. That total is an increase of 502 deaths from what the state agency reported a month ago, with the updated total of 31 coronavirus deaths on Friday making it the most in a single day since May.

Nursing homes across Indiana are also continuing to feel the toll of COVID-19. The state’s long-term care facilities dashboard reports 2,113 residents have died as of Oct. 7, representing more than 57% of all coronavirus deaths in the state.

The Boone County Health Department reported the latest outbreak, announcing Tuesday morning that four residents have died and 37 other residents and employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at Signature Healthcare at Parkwood in Lebanon, 30 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

A statement released by the health department said a “strike team” from the Indiana Department of Health has been notified and is currently working with Parkwood to provide “support, testing, and mitigation efforts.”

“We are beginning to see record-breaking COVID-19 numbers within Boone County and across the state,” county health officials said in a statement. “As the weather becomes colder, we are anticipating large numbers of influenza and COVID-19 and are especially concerned for our vulnerable populations- particularly those in long term care facilities.”

Before the outbreak, the nursing home reported a total of 34 residents had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the state state department of health. Five residents had died from the virus, and 23 workers also had tested positive as of Oct. 7.

Several of Indiana’s coronavirus statistics have seen steep jumps since last month when Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted nearly all of Indiana’s coronavirus restrictions on businesses and crowd sizes.

“It’s a reminder every day, no matter if it’s one case or a hundred, that we need to be vigilant,” Holcomb said in a statement.

Holcomb has resisted calls to reimpose tougher restrictions in addition to the statewide mask mandate, but last week chastised those who don’t wear masks while out in public places.

The state health department’s daily update showed Indiana hospitals with 1,425 coronavirus patients as of Monday. Those hospitalizations are at the highest level since early May and are up almost 90% in the past month, as is the number of COVID-19 patients being treated in intensive care units.

Indiana’s seven-day rolling average of newly confirmed COVID-19 infections was reported at 1,802 as of Monday. That is the highest level the state has seen during the pandemic and has more than doubled since late September.