After setting more than a dozen COVID-19 records between October and December, Indiana has started the new year with significantly lower cases and deaths than those record-setting months.
In November and December, the state averaged about 5,500 cases per day. But in January so far, it has averaged about 4,000.
Shaun Grannis, Regenstrief Institute vice president of data and analytics, said that could be for a few reasons – including Hoosiers avoiding testing and the vaccine rollout.
"Positivity rate, while it’s been up and down, it’s been up and down within a band. Which suggests to me, we probably are seeing fewer cases right now at least in part because of the lower testing," he said.
The state is averaging more than 3,000 fewer tests per day in January than December – though it's important to note that tests, much like deaths, are reported over a series of days.
Indiana surpassed 9,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths Tuesday. The rate of newly reported deaths is slightly slower than the previous two months.
The state averaged more than 53 deaths per day in November and 76 deaths in December. So far, January’s daily average is hovering around 51 deaths per day, which is still about five times the average of September.
Grannis said that can, in some part, be attributed to who is getting the virus in the first place.
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He said the bulk of new cases are skewing younger, and fewer long-term care facility residents are getting the virus.
"We’re doing a much better job of recognizing what precautions need to be taken and monitoring these individuals and testing more appropriately," Grannis said.
Grannis said as time goes by, we’ll not only have more data, but hopefully a better understanding of what has contributed to these decreases.