Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Study: C19 infections slowing in Indiana

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Results from the second phase of a study of statewide random COVID-19 testing--aimed at measuring the spread of the coronavirus in Indiana--show fewer active infections and a greater number of people testing positive for antibodies.

“Taken together, this is evidence that the virus has slowed its spread within Indiana,” said Nir Menachemi, lead scientist on the study and a professor and Fairbanks Endowed Chair at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. “We currently have more people previously infected than are currently infected,”

"By using a random sample, we can get more valid and generalizable estimates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Indiana,” said Paul Halverson, founding dean of the Fairbanks School. “By taking multiple random samples across different time periods,we are able to observe how the virus is affecting Hoosiers over time.”

After analyzing the results of Phase II testing, in comparison with the results of Phase I in late April, IUPUI researchers determined that the statewide estimate for active infection rate was 0.6 percent, a sharp drop from the 1.7 percent observed in Phase I. The estimate for antibody positivity in Phase II was 1.5 percent, an increase over the 1.1 percent observed in Phase I results.

“While the reasons for his decline could vary, it is likely that the virus has slowed down due to our collective efforts to be safer, engage in social distancing, and reduce transmission by wearing masks and adhering to higher hand- and surface-hygiene standards,” Menachemi said. “This was an example of Hoosiers’ successfully hunkering down during the initial outbreak.”

While the ratio between active infections and antibody testing improved in Phase II, researchers continued to see disparities among minority communities. These groups still show evidence of being harder hit with C-19 infections, Menachemi noted.

For non-whites, the active infection rate in Phase II was 1.4 percent, lower than the 3.4 percent rate in Phase I, while antibody positivity rates were 5.6 percent, higher than the 1.6 percent found in Phase I.

The estimated statewide rate among Hispanics showed a decrease in active infections from 6.9 percent in Phase 1 to 2.6 percent in Phase II. Antibody positivity rates among Hispanics increased from 1.5 percent in Phase I to 8.5 percent in Phase II.

The reason we were able to move to Stage 4 of our re-opening plan was because Hoosiers took steps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, and these data show that those steps have worked,” State Health Commissioner Kris Box said. “But we still have active transmission, and we must continue to take steps to protect our most vulnerable Hoosiers.”

Based on Phase II data, the researchers estimated that 43 percent of all Hoosiers currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 show no symptoms. This rate is similar to the almost 45 percent who tested positive for active viral infection and reported no symptoms at all in Phase I testing.

“We should be aware of the experiences of other states,” Menchemi said. “The virus can still be actively transmitted if we are not careful. Based on the preliminary Phase II results, it appears we have been successful in limiting the spread of the coronavirus but have not eliminated the risk. Hoosiers need to be diligent to adhere to any and all measures designed to keep transmission low.”

The next phases of testing are planned for fall 2020 and April 2021.

 

Posted 6/18/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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