INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is again seeing a steady climb in COVID-19 cases.
The state reported another 878 new cases for July 21. That's nowhere near the numbers seen at the start of the pandemic. But there is an upward trend in the last few weeks. Health officials and data analysts continue to preach vaccination as the best way to prevent serious infection.
The Marion County Public Health Department brought the COVID vaccine downtown with a mobile clinic over four days during the past two weeks. The state vaccination rate for eligible Hoosiers 12 and older is 50.1 percent. Indianapolis is just slightly higher at 51.3 percent.
"I don't think we're stuck there,” said Marion County Public Health Department Registered Nurse Nikki Love, who was giving shots Thursday at the mobile clinic parked just outside the Birch Bayh Federal Building and Courthouse. “I think the whole idea of coming out and doing these mobile sites is to get people to come out and get vaccinated, make them aware and make it accessible to them."
In the first hour-and-a-half of the clinic on Thursday, the nurses gave six shots. but they say the effort would be worth it for just one.
"The most apprehensions are just from people that are afraid of needles,” said Shayathia Ernest, another nurse working at the mobile clinic. “That's mostly what we see on the shot. It's not very painful. It's very quick. We get you in and out. So, if you're afraid of needles, you don't have to look."
Meantime, COVID-19 cases are clearly on the rise in Indiana over the past month. The seven-day average of daily new cases has jumped from about 200 to 600 in July. New cases topped 700 Monday and now almost 900.
"Most of these new cases that we're seeing are among people who are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Shaun Grannis, vice president for data and analytics with the Regenstrief Institute. “So, among the vaccinated population, COVID has been basically stopped in its tracks."
The Indiana seven-day average positivity rate is now 5.4 percent, back up over the desired five-percent threshold.
"The numbers are going up,” said Ashley Bales, another Marion County Public Health Department registered nurse. “It's definitely of utmost importance that people that are not vaccinated get vaccinated, and make sure you're fully vaccinated at that."
"Cases are rising,” said Grannis. “Those cases are occurring almost entirely among people who are not vaccinated. And we know that the vaccine is nearly 100% effective. So, we want that information to get out there and then people have to make the decision."
The state reports only 0.11 percent (3,198 cases) of people fully vaccinated have later tested positive for COVID-19. Those are called breakthrough cases. Of those people, 0.005 percent (152) required hospitalization, 0.002 percent (46) died. Ninety-one percent of those deaths were people 65 and older. The average age of breakthrough deaths in Indiana is 79 years old.