Boone County and many other Indiana counties have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases and positivity rates in recent weeks, which health officials fear is because of the increased prevalence of the delta variant of the coronavirus and people who have not been vaccinated.
Boone County Health Dept. Public Health Educator Claire Haughton said the delta variant is more infectious than other variants.
In the BCHD’s reporting week of July 3 to July 9, 23 new cases were reported, and the county had a positivity rate of 4.7 percent. The department’s reporting weeks end on Fridays. The ensuing reporting week, from July 10 to July 16, 41 new cases were reported. And From July 17 to July 20, the department had reported 38 cases, with more expected before the end of the reporting week.
The Indiana State Dept. of Health lists Boone County’s positivity rate at 6.92 percent as of July 20. It also reported the county had 61 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. The increased metrics were enough for the ISDH to give the county a yellow designation on its color-coded coronavirus map, indicating an increased level of spread.
Boone County was joined by numerous other counties with yellow designations. On July 20, the ISDH listed more counties in yellow than blue. On July 6, 74 counties were given a blue designation — twice as many as on July 20, when the ISDH reported 37 blue counties.
Another factor likely contributing to increasing case numbers is the number unvaccinated residents.
“Our vaccination rate isn’t nearly where we want it to be,” Haughton said.
Few vaccinated residents have been infected in recent weeks, with the overwhelming majority of new cases being in unvaccinated residents, according to health officials. As of July 20, the ISDH had reported 2,720 breakthrough cases in vaccinated residents, representing 0.095 percent of vaccinated individuals.
In Boone County, a disparity in vaccination rates across the county remains. As of July 20, 93.2 percent of eligible Zionsville residents, 82.6 percent of Whitestown residents and 51.4 percent of residents in the rest of the county were fully vaccinated.