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Skyrocketing cases of COVID-19 have prompted the Indiana Hospital Association to call for Hoosiers to

Skyrocketing cases of COVID-19 have prompted the Indiana Hospital Association to call for Hoosiers to band together – while remaining 6 feet apart.

Brian Tabor, the association’s president, Tuesday said “all Hoosiers should be alarmed at the COVID-19 trends,” which are represented by an almost vertical line on graphs.

“In recent weeks, new cases have reached the highest level to date, and hospitalizations have increased by 143% since Oct. 1,” he said in a statement. “Many hospitals are reporting staff shortages as the pandemic takes its toll – Hoosier nurses, doctors, and other front-line hospital staff have been working non-stop since the early spring.”

Tabor included guidance for how residents can help.

“Please give these courageous health care heroes some much-needed relief by wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing, washing your hands and staying home when you are sick,” he said. “We need everyone to take these steps to relieve the enormous strain on the system at this critical time.”

The data are sobering.

Indiana logged 4,879 new confirmed coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 219,338. Officials also reported 63 new deaths for a total of 4,481, according to theIndiana State Department of Health’s online dashboard.

Northeast Indiana’s share of infections is increasing.

The region’s 11 counties account for 24,063 – or 11% – of Indiana’s confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. The area accounted for 750 – or 15% – of Tuesday’s new infections in the state.  

In Allen County, 318 new cases were reported Tuesday by the Allen County Department of Health, bringing the total to 12,004 confirmed positive cases. No new deaths were reported, leaving the total at 246.

DeKalb County Health Department officials reported 45 new confirmed cases and two new deaths.

Indiana’s testing positivity rate was 19.2% for unique individuals over the past seven days and 9.9% for all tests, according to the state’s dashboard. The state’s seven-day positivity rate was 8.7% as of one week ago today.

The World Health Organization has recommended a level of about 5% positivity as a goal.

Results include free tests being administered in Warsaw by the Bowen Center since Oct. 15.

Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer and the Kosciusko County Health Department asked the health care provider to encourage the county’s Hispanic residents, who make up 7.9% of the total population, to participate.

As of Saturday, the site has administered 3,500 tests, officials said. Of the1,400 tests performed last week, 13% were administered to Hispanic residents.

“The majority of our COVID-19 testing site staff are bi-lingual and bi-cultural,” the Bowen Center said Monday in a news release. “We have been intentional about reaching the Hispanic population because they have limited access to medical services, and they are a minority population that is at high risk for COVID-19.”

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