Indiana’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have reached lows not seen in eight months.
During the omicron peak, there were several days in January when the Indiana Department of Health reported new cases surpassing 17,000.
On Tuesday in Indiana, there were just 302 new daily cases.
In Southern Indiana, Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said as the positivity rate declines, he’s optimistic for the immediate future.
“I think we always focus on a lot of the negatives with where we’ve been in the last couple years and this is just a really good time to take a deep breath and feel good about where we’re at,” he said.
Yazel says vaccinated people are not considered high risk can forgo masking in public places where it’s not required.
But he added people need to be aware of their own health, and get tested if they’re symptomatic.
It comes down to personal responsibility, he said.
“Know your own risk profile and act accordingly,” Yazel said. “I think if you’re a high-risk individual and unvaccinated, and you go to a crowded event, there’s still some danger that you’ll get COVID-19 and that you’ll get very sick from it.”
There were just nine new daily cases reported Tuesday between Clark and Floyd counties, down from the peak of more than 700 in early winter.
Both Clark Memorial Health in Jeffersonville and Baptist Health Floyd in New Albany now have fewer than 10 COVID patients between them.
Statewide, around 5% of ICU beds were in use for COVID patients as of the start of the week.
“No matter how you look at it, things are markedly better,” Floyd County Health Officer Dr. Tom Harris said.
Vaccines became available in Indiana on an age-based tier system starting in early 2021.
When the highly contagious delta and omicron variants hit in fall and winter, respectively, many unvaccinated people got the virus.
Harris said that between vaccinations and the large numbers of people who have been infected during the omicron surge, he believes there is a “significant amount of the population” with some immunity to the virus in Floyd County.
“Now, between omicron and the vaccination process we’ve got a significant amount of the population that is now immune to COVID,” Harris said.
He added that the community is at the point where unless there’s a new variant, a big surge in cases is unlikely.
“There will be cases randomly in the community but the worst is really over,” he said, adding that those random cases can still be severe and people with symptoms should get tested.
Yazel also said that while there could be other variants, they may not have the same impact as the previous waves, including the delta and omicron surges.
“Do I think we’ll see other spikes of COVID activity in our community? Probably,” he said. “Do I think those will be really clinically significant? probably not as much.”