Howard County averaged nine new cases of COVID-19 daily last week and added two more deaths. Now, 9,814 residents have tested positive for the virus, and 215 have died from it.
According to the Regenstrief Institute, 20 Howard County residents visited an emergency room last week for COVID, up from 18 the week prior, and five were hospitalized, up from four the week prior. Two were admitted to an ICU, down from three the week prior.
Today, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 812 new cases of the virus and one new death.
According to the ISDH, 1,531 cases of COVID-19 variants have been detected in Indiana, making up 38.1 percent of current samples. The variant being reported the most is the B.1.1.7 variant (originally identified in the US) with 1,210 cases. That's followed by the B.1.427/B.1.429 (originally identified in California) with 236 cases, P.1 (originally identified in Brazil) with 75 cases, and the B.1.351 variant (originally identified in South Africa) with 10 cases.
The ISDH stated "some of the spreading variants are concerning because they can be spread much more easily that other strains and can cause more severe infection." These include all of the variants listed above, according to the ISDH.
Public health officials are tracking the variants to see if they are causing more infecting, hospitalizations, and deaths to make sure that treatments and vaccines still work.
According to the ISDH, the current COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the variants of concern that have been detected in Indiana.
"As more people get vaccinated and become immune, communities will have more protection against variants. Viruses cannot multiply or mutate in people who are immune, so variants will not emerge or spread. Vaccination prevents mutation, so get vaccinated as soon as you can," according to the ISDH's website.
Hospitalizations continue to remain over 900 statewide, with 931 Hoosiers hospitalized as of yesterday. 182 Hoosiers are in an ICU for the virus, down from 194 a week ago, and 78 are on ventilators for the virus, down from 81 a week ago.