Historians of the COVID-19 pandemic may look back on last week in Indiana, when some Republican state lawmakers believed they could simply declare an end to the public health emergency, with amusement at their ignorance, or perhaps, their innocence.

That's because, once again, the coronavirus is proving that even if Hoosiers are sick and tired of COVID-19, the virus isn't done making Hoosiers sick.

Even before Friday's designation of the Omicron variant, the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Indiana were surging, just as they did last year as autumn turned to winter and Hoosiers began spending more time each day indoors.

The Indiana Department of Health is urging all Hoosiers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, particuarly the more infectious delta variant

On Tuesday — the most recent day with complete data available due to the Thanksgiving holiday — a total of 4,070 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the state, according to the Indiana Department of Health.

That's the first time the state's daily COVID-19 case count has exceeded 4,000 since Sept. 16, and it was nearly twice the 2,048 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Indiana exactly three weeks prior.

State health records show a total of 1,842 Hoosiers were hospitalized with COVID-19 Tuesday, including 220 in Northwest Indiana, a 38.8% increase compared to the 1,327 Hoosiers hospitalized with COVID-19 three weeks ago.

As a result, the state health agency has upped the color-coded classifications of all Northwest Indiana counties — and nearly the entire state — to "orange," to reflect the increased spread of the virus across the Region.

Currently, 11 of the state's 92 counties are one notch higher at the worst-possible "red" rating, indicating uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus, including most counties in northeast Indiana.

Altogether, COVID-19 has killed 17,386 Hoosiers when both testing-confirmed COVID-19 deaths (16,805) and probable COVID-19 deaths (581) are included in the tally, records show.

State health officials are urging Hoosiers age 5 and up to reduce their chances of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death by getting vaccinated against COVID-19, or getting a COVID-19 booster shot for those previously vaccinated, as soon as possible.

The free COVID-19 vaccine is available, in most cases without an appointment, at 1,488 locations across the state, including retail pharmacies, health clinics and hospitals.

A complete list of COVID-19 vaccine sites is available online at ourshot.in.gov.

Records show more than 3.4 million Hoosiers age 5 and up, or 52.6% of the state's eligible population, are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including 51.5% of eligible Lake County residents, 56.9% in Porter County and 52.2% in LaPorte County.

According to the Indiana Department of Health, unvaccinated individuals account for 98.1% of Indiana's 1.08 million total COVID-19 infections, 99.96% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 99.98% of COVID-19 deaths since the first coronavirus case was diagnosed in the Hoosier State on March 6, 2020.
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