Indiana passed 10 million total tests administered since the start of the pandemic as well as crossed 13,000 deaths from COVID-19, passing both milestones on Sunday. Graphics from Indiana State Department of Heath
Indiana passed 10 million total tests administered since the start of the pandemic as well as crossed 13,000 deaths from COVID-19, passing both milestones on Sunday. Graphics from Indiana State Department of Heath
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana passed two milestones on Sunday, eclipsing more than 10 million total COVID-19 tests given while also crossing 13,000 dead from the virus since March 2020.

COVID-19 activity has slowed a lot in 2021 amid rising vaccinations and lower overall transmission, but numbers are still rising.

Earlier this month, the state passed 50% of all Hoosiers having been tested for COVID-19 at least one, but on Sunday Indiana topped 10 million total tests.

Testing has slowed in recent months as more and more people become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — people who reach full vaccination status don't need to be tested if they're exposed to someone positive for the virus — but also as cases have dropped sharply.

The state was administering an average of about 45,000 tests per day in November and December 2020 when the virus was hitting its all-time peaks and stayed close in January at about 43,000 tests per day.

Testing numbers have been in decline since, however, falling to about 36,000 per day in February and then 28,000 per day in March and April. So far in May, daily testing numbers are down a little more, to about 26,000 per day.

The decrease in cases over the last few months hasn't been driven solely by decreased in testing as evidenced by the positivity rates. Positivity was about 12% in November and December, compared to sub-5% numbers over the past three months. So although testing has decreased, the proportion of tests still being done coming back positive has been substantially lower.

Most tests being conducted nowadays are retests on people who have been swabbed at least one before. On average, fewer than 1-in-5 tests being done are on someone who has never been tested before.

As for deaths, Indiana passed another centennial mark, rising to 13,003 deaths all time as of Sunday.

The state passed 12,000 deaths on Feb. 23, so it's been about two and a half months since hitting the last thousand point.

Deaths from COVID-19 have plummeted in 2021, coinciding with rising vaccination rates across the state.

At the highest point in mid-December, Indiana was averaging more than 100 deaths per day from COVID-19, but that rate sharply declined as vaccines started going out to the state's most vulnerable populations.

As of this week, Indiana is now averaging only six deaths per day across the entire state and has been under 10 deaths per day average since late March.

When vaccine rollout started, Indiana prioritized its eldest and most vulnerable populations first when vaccine supply was constrained. The state started by putting vaccines in the arms of people 80 years old and older first — who have accounted for more than half of all COVID-19 deaths all-time — then opened up eligibility slowly to new age groups in 10 and five-year increments walking backward before shots were opened to everyone 16 and older in early April.

Although there's been some vaccine hesitancy and vaccine resistance, older groups took to the shots at high percentages. More than 70% of the oldest Hoosiers did choose to get vaccinated and that has likely played a major part in why deaths have plummeted as rapidly as they have.

In Indiana, 97.5% of all deaths have occurred among people 50 and older.

Indiana has also noted 415 "probable" COVID-19 cases, deaths that don't have a positive COVID-19 test associated with them but that appear to have been due to the virus based on medical examination and symptoms at time of death.
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