INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana is in the top 10 for lowest spread rate of COVID-19, Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday.
The effective reproduction rate for Indiana is 0.94, according to Becker's Hospital Review – an entity that tracks the rate nationally.
Holcomb said the number generally shows how many other people each infected person passes the virus to, and Indiana's rate is less than 1. The state is tied for ninth with South Dakota.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said it is a complicated mathematical formula but indicates Indiana is doing well curbing COVID-19.
The worst rate in the nation is 1.28 in Wisconsin.
An updated state map also shows Indiana counties making improvements. None are in the red, or highest level of concern; two are in orange; 42 are in yellow; and 48 are in blue. Last week, seven counties were in the orange category.
Box said this shows Hoosiers are doing the right things – such as wearing masks and social distancing – and encouraged them to keep up the good work.
Holcomb repeatedly stressed the importance of masks Wednesday, saying he doesn't enjoy every second of wearing them, but it means Indiana will get through the pandemic more quickly and with less destruction.
“The virus hasn't changed. It is still uber-infectious,” the governor said.
He noted Indiana is one of the most “open” states in the country right now, and its unemployment rate is dropping.
“We want to continue this momentum,” Holcomb said.
To that end, Box stressed that cases are rising in Indiana youth. Almost 13% of the state's cases are in people under the age of 19. So far this month, the 0-19 and 20-29 age groups represent nearly half of all new COVID-19 cases, with many identified in the 18- to 22-year-old age group as universities have required testing and students have returned to campus.
Box said cases in children in kindergarten through Grade 12 have remained relatively stable since late July. However, Indiana is seeing almost 19% of its cases among high school students and peer-to-peer transmission is occurring more frequently in teenagers and young adults.
“This is likely because these age groups are less likely to observe social distancing, don't wear masks regularly and have larger social bubbles,” Box said. “We need our younger Hoosiers to understand they are not without risk.”
At a glance
Indiana reported 624 new cases and 12 new deaths Wednesday. Allen County had one new death and 38 new cases. There was also one new death in DeKalb County.
Sources: Indiana State Department of Health, Allen County Department of Health