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Record COVID Numbers in Largest Counties Fueling New State Highs

(FORT WAYNE, Ind.) — Indiana has been breaking coronavirus records this week not just at the
state level, but locally.

Seven of Indiana’s nine largest counties set new single-day highs for new COVID infections on
Thursday — Lake County rebroke its record on Friday. The county has been averaging 200 cases a
day for the last two weeks, and now has a positivity rate over 10%.

Indiana set a record Thursday with more than 3,600 new cases, the first time over 3,000, with nearly half the new cases in the nine big counties. The next day was over 3,000 again.

Marion County didn’t set a record this week, but has had nearly 700 the last two days, its second
and third-highest totals ever. Allen County’s seven highest totals ever have come in the last nine
days, including a record 239 cases on Thursday.

Allen County Health Commissioner Matt Sutter says people are getting less cautious just as falling
temperatures push more people indoors. He echoes other local and state health officials in pointing
to small, unmasked social gatherings as the biggest source of spread. While the virus can spread
through surfaces and through aerosol droplets which hang in the air, Sutter says the most common
way it spreads is through standing and talking face to face with someone. He notes that’s what
makes wearing masks and social distancing critical and effective steps to control the virus.

Allen County’s positivity rate has passed 9%, and the county is one of 50 rated at
“moderate to high risk” of spread on the Indiana State Department of Health’s weekly risk chart.
Sutter says he views the number of cases as the more significant measure, and says the steadily
rising numbers are worrisome.

Sutter calls schools a “bright spot” in the pandemic, with few cases reported there, and says the
goal is to continue classes safely. But he says the department is already talking with schools about
whether sports or other afterschool activities might have to be restricted if cases continue to rise.

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