Indiana on Friday for the first time surpassed more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported in a single day.
The Indiana State Department of Health on Friday announced 2,328 more Hoosiers had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
That total does include about 300 cases in which reporting was delayed due to a technical issue. But even with those case discounted, the state broke the single-day 2,000 count for the first time, indicating increased spread of the novel coronavirus.
As of Friday, a total of 143,495 Indiana residents were known to have had the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. The state reported 22 new deaths, and the total number of Hoosiers who have died from COVID 19 is at 3,654. Another 233 Hoosiers' deaths are considered probable COVID deaths based on clinical diagnosis in patients for whom tests had not been recorded.
Of the total 2.45 million COVID-19 tests administered in Indiana, the positivity rate was at 5.8% as of Friday. That includes people who have been tested more than once. However, for the unique or separate-individual tests, the positivity rate is at 10.4%.
Hospitalizations also are increasing. The number of people hospitalized as of Thursday was 1,311, down slightly over the past few days but close to some of the highs reached in May.
The state's COVID-19 dashboard showed 50.7% of all ICU beds in use by non-COVID patients, 17% in use by COVID patients and 32.2% available.
Politico, a national news site, quoted Indiana Chief Medical Officer Lindsay Weaver as saying the Hoosier State is facing "critical ICU bed shortages along with personnel shortages.”
The ICU patient load is "especially concerning, because we have not begun to see the typical increase in ICU bed usage from influenza,” Weaver sad.
Friday's numbers come about three weeks after Gov. Eric Holcomb gave the go-ahead for a nearly full reopening, or "Stage 5," and in the same week in which he decided not to pull back from Stage 5.
The governor did extend the statewide mask mandate for another month; it had had been due to expire Oct. 17.
The local situation
Terre Haute's two major hospitals on Thursday and Friday acknowledged their patient numbers were up, although they declined to discuss specific numbers or percentages.
Union Hospital spokesman Neil Garrison sent the following in an email in response to a query:
"It is common for patient volumes to vary on a daily basis within our hospitals. As of [Thursday], our Covid-19 patient census is high, but our overall in-patient census is high, according to Rhonda Smith, Chief Nursing Officer of Union Health. We are still seeing many patients who are delaying their care, which is causing them to be more serious when they arrive at our emergency rooms.
"We recommend everyone schedule regular visits with a primary care provider, if they are not already doing so. This will allow medical professionals to catch many health concerns sooner. We also recommend Convenient Care or urgent care clinics for non-emergent care."
At Terre Haute Regional Hospital, spokeswoman AnnMarie Foote sent the following response on behalf of Nathan Vooys, CEO:
"Terre Haute Regional Hospital is experiencing a small, manageable uptick in the volume of COVID patients requiring hospitalization, which reflects the increased number of positive cases in the Wabash Valley and Indiana.
"Inpatient volumes for reasons other than COVID are typical for this time of year, when we begin to see flu and other illnesses. We continue to monitor our volumes and the demands placed on our staff, equipment, and supplies and will continue to make appropriate adjustments to ensure we are providing the highest levels of care for the community."
Vigo County Health Commissioner Dr. Darren Brucken, the hospitalist for Regional, was busy on Friday morning and said he could not discuss the situation at length, but he did text, " Both hospitals have had significant increases in Covid patients, obviously."
The state health department reported a 32nd death due to COVID-19in Vigo County. The death occurred Oct. 9 in a man age 80 or older.
The Vigo County health department reports or records COVID-related deaths slightly differently than the state department. On Friday afternoon, Vigo County put the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths at 31. It also listed eight deaths for people who died of other causes (such as auto accidents or cancer) but who also were found to be COVID-19 positive. It also listed one presumptive COVID-19 death.
Countywide, there have been 2,365 total confirmed cases of COVID-19.
— Taylor Wooten of TheStatehouseFile.com also contributed to this report.