INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The number of Indiana counties with the highest risk level of coronavirus spread more than doubled in Wednesday’s state update that also showed average daily COVID-19 deaths have reached 60% higher than the peak during the first virus surge in April.
The Indiana State Health Department’s updated weekly tracking map labels 36 of the state’s 92 counties the most dangerous red category, up from 16 a week ago.
All other counties are in the next-riskiest orange rating of the four-level system.
Those red counties are predominantly rural, but include northwestern Indiana’s Lake County, Fort Wayne’s Allen County and five counties adjoining Indianapolis.
Other red counties in Northeast Indiana include DeKalb, Jay, LaGrange, Steuben, Wells and Whitley.
The worsening county ratings come as Indiana’s number of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have spiked far past the state’s peaks during the initial surge of cases during the spring.
Gov. Eric Holcomb and health officials were scheduled to hold a Wednesday afternoon briefing on the state’s coronavirus response.
Health officials on Wednesday added 98 confirmed recent COVID-19 deaths in recent days to the statewide toll.
Those push Indiana’s toll to 6,506, including both confirmed and presumed infections.
The state’s seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths has reached 67 per day after that average fell below 10 a day during July following an April peak of 42 a day.
Indiana’s hospitals are currently treating more than quadruple the number of COVID-19 patients than they were in September, with health officials worried about hospitals being overwhelmed.