Posey County is the first of Indiana's 92 in months to be rated 'red' or high risk on the Indiana State Department of Health's COVID-19 advisory map as the delta varient of the virus continues to spread. ISDH graphic
Posey County is the first of Indiana's 92 in months to be rated 'red' or high risk on the Indiana State Department of Health's COVID-19 advisory map as the delta varient of the virus continues to spread. ISDH graphic
EVANSVILLE — Posey County on Wednesday became Indiana's first county in months to be placed at the "red" level -- or high-risk -- on the state's COVID-19 advisory map.

The county's chief public health official said the sharp increase in cases across Posey County and the rest of Southwestern Indiana is a consequence of the virus' delta variant, a lack of wearing masks indoors and slow-paced vaccination rates.

The map can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health's statewide dashboard of cases. The ISDH updates the map colors and incidence per 100,000 residents weekly.

Also on Wednesday, Indiana reported 1,774 new cases and 14 deaths statewide.

The advisories are based on two metrics from the previous week: the seven-day positivity rate for all tests and the number of weekly cases per 100,000 residents.

Posey County had a 15.3 percent positivity rate and 279 cases per 100,000.

On Wednesday, Posey County reported 14 new cases, bringing to 2,896 its total cases since the March 2020 start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More: The COVID delta variant is taking root in Evansville area. Here's what you need to know.

More: EVSC changes guidelines; masks are required initially but policy could change

Statewide there were 29 counties at an "orange" level advisory on the map, meaning they are approaching high risk. Vanderburgh, Warrick, Gibson acounties were among those in "orange."

All three reported more than 200 cases per 100,000 population but maintained positivity rates below the 15 percent or higher that would bump them to "red."

Vanderburgh reported 81 new cases Wednesday, Warrick 41 and Gibson 21. There were no new deaths.

"It's definitely the arrival of the delta variant (of the virus). It spreads much easier and quicker," said Dr. Kyle Rapp, health officer for the Posey County Health Department. "I don't see it turning back to our blue and yellow advisories anytime soon unless people really start to distance themselves and wear masks indoors and wash their hands frequently."

Rapp said he believes the uptick in cases is directly linked to people becoming more lax on wearing masks.

"We're seeing the effects of that," he said.

He said he hasn't seen much commonality among newly positive cases, except that the more contagious delta variant is more apt to spread among family members.

"We are seeing that once one member of a household get it, more people in the household are getting it," Rapp said. "Hopefully, people will start taking this delta variant seriously."

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