Preliminary results from the second phase of statewide testing aimed at measuring the spread of the novel coronavirus in Indiana show fewer active infections and a greater number of people testing positive for antibodies.
The study is being conducted by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Public Health.
“This is evidence that the virus has slowed its spread within Indiana,” said Nir Menachemi, lead scientist on the study. “We currently have more people previously infected than are currently infected.”
The results were presented Wednesday during Governor Eric Holcomb’s COVID-19 media briefing.
Menachemi said the number of active cases has dropped from 1.7% in the first round of testing to 0.6% in the second phase. The number of Hoosiers with antibodies climbed from 1.1% in the first round to 1.5% in round two.
“It is likely that the virus has slowed 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,” said Menachemi.
ISDH Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box echoed Menachemi’s analysis.
“The reason we were able to move to Stage 4 of our reopening plan was because Hoosiers took steps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, and these data show that those steps have worked,” said Box.
Between June 3-8, a team from Fairbanks, along with ISDH, tested approximately 3,600 Hoosiers. During the first round of testing in late April, nearly 4,600 Indiana residents were tested.
Based on the newest data, the researchers estimated that 43% of all Indiana residents who are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 show no symptoms. Menachemi said that is similar to the 45% rate who tested positive in April for active viral infection but reported no symptoms.
“But we still have active transmission, and we must continue to take steps to protect our most vulnerable Hoosiers,” said Box.
Though there has been an improvement in the numbers overall, Menachemi said researchers continue to see disparities among minority communities.
Phase three of testing will take place this fall. A fourth-round will occur in spring 2021.
View the governor’s briefing in the video below: