More than half of statewide coronavirus deaths in Indiana come from long-term care facilities

Coronavirus cases are still rising in Indiana with a 7-day positivity rate of 5%. As the flu season ramps up, health officials want to remind Hoosiers to stay vigilant.

Despite the ‘pandemic fatigue’, COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, so Hoosiers have to use the tools available to prevent the spread of the virus, according to according to State Health Commissioner Kristina Box.

Nearly 15,000 to 20,000 coronavirus tests are given daily, according to Governor Holcomb. The Governor pleaded with the public, encouraging everyone to do their own part no matter what, especially as children are asked to follow the same safety measures.

With flu season approaching, now is not the time to dial back, according to Governor Holcomb.

“It doesn’t matter what community or how small or large an event or the venue—it could be a funeral, could be a wedding, could be a football game,” Governor Holcomb said. “And this is both anecdotal and through our tracing, we just see that the odds of this virus spreading go up when you let your guard down in these different situations and that’s reflected on our county maps.”

As for Michiana, the increases in cases and hospitalizations could lead St. Joseph County to reconsider reopening stages moving forward.

Some of the changes Hoosiers are seeing in counties across the state stems from outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

As of Wednesday, there were 2,046 total known deaths in these long-term care facilities. The Indiana statewide total is 3,500. That means 58% of deaths in the Hoosier state are in patients staying in nursing homes and residential care facilities.

During an update from the Indiana Department of Health on Wednesday, health officials said that surveyors visited these facilities back in March to create preparedness plans, including how to prevent the spread of the virus.

Those surveyors have completed 4,465 visits to date, according to Chief Medical Officer Lindsay Weaver.

Still, more than half of the statewide death count is from elderly patients.

“As cases rise in the community, the likelihood of having an outbreak in a facility also increases,” Dr. Weaver said. “It is up to all of us to protect these vulnerable people by following the guidance of mask wearing, social distancing, hygiene and minimize social gathering.”

Officials plan to go back to survey nursing homes by the end of October, according to Dr. Weaver. All staff will be required to complete prevention education about coronavirus to make sure everyone understands the steps needed to protect the population, according to Dr. Weaver.

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