INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana could be a month away from the peak of illnesses from the coronavirus outbreak, the state’s top health official said Friday as seven more virus-related deaths were reported to bring the state’s death toll to 24.
Indiana has seen its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases more than double since the state health department’s Wednesday report to the 981 cases announced Friday. The number of deaths has doubled from Tuesday’s report of 12.
Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said the projected illness peak in Indiana is expected in mid- to late April. She said that projection was based on modeling done by state agencies and how other states have seen the illness spread.
“We are already seeing some patients sick but we’re not seeing a big uptick in EMS calls for patients with respiratory illness,” Box said. “So we still think we are a little bit in the calm before the storm, but we know that’s coming and are prepared for that.”
A statewide stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Eric Holcomb took effect Wednesday, with exemptions for essential businesses to remain open and for necessary trips for food and medicine.
COVID-19 testing has been limited around the state, but Holcomb said the locations of confirmed cases show that all parts of Indiana are seeing illnesses.
“We don’t see the peak yet, these numbers are compounding,” Holcomb said. “This is like a snowball that’s rolling downhill and getting bigger and bigger and bigger.”
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Indiana's coronavirus cases surged by more than 300 to nearly 1,000 statewide Friday, and seven more deaths were reported, bringing the state's death toll to 24, state health officials said.
Indiana’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, grew by 338 to 981 across the state, following corrections to the previous day’s total, the Indiana State Department of Health said.
Nearly 7,000 people statewide have been tested for the coronavirus, officials said Friday, citing test results reported to the state agency, which also released its first demographic data on Indiana’s confirmed coronavirus cases.
That data shows that slightly more females than males have been infected with the virus: 52% of the cases are women. About 56% of infections are among people aged 50 and older, and about 38% are among people age 60 and older — the age group most at risk of having a severe infection.
State health officials have said they are targeting tests for those most at risk and health care workers.
Coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
The data includes no information about how many of Indiana's health care workers have been infected by the coronavirus. The department also released no demographic information about Indiana’s COVID-19 fatalities, which stood at 24 as of Friday.
On Thursday, the Indianapolis 500 joined a long list of sporting events postponed by the coronavirus. The race will take place Aug. 23, not May 24. Gov. Eric Holcomb's stay-at-home order took effect Wednesday.
Holcomb and Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, were scheduled to deliver another coronavirus briefing Friday afternoon.