Study estimates 2.8% coronavirus infection rate for Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS -- A statewide study estimates that at least 2.8% of Indiana's population has been infected by the coronavirus, a rate about 10 times that shown by previous testing, Indiana University researchers said Wednesday.
The testing of about 4,600 people at random around the state found 1.7% were infected at the time of the test and 1.1% tested positive for antibodies showing they were previously exposed. The tests were done by IU's Fairbanks School of Public Health over a week ending May 1.
The findings project that Indiana has seen a 0.58% fatality rate among those infected. That rate is almost six times greater than the fatality rate for seasonal flu, said Nir Menachemi, a professor who led the study.
Nearly 45% of those infected reported experiencing no symptoms of the COVID-19 respiratory disease. Menachemi said that highlighted the need for people to practice social distancing and wear masks in public to avoid unknowingly spreading the coronavirus.
The projected infection rate would mean about 186,000 Indiana residents had the coronavirus by the end of April, when the state health department reported fewer than 19,000 confirmed infections.
The study results come as Indiana's death toll from confirmed or probable COVID-19 illnesses has grown past 1,600 people.
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Indiana's coronavirus death toll has grown past 1,600 people as state health officials on Wednesday added 41 fatalities involving confirmed or probable infections to the tally.
The Indiana State Department of Health recorded 38 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths, most of which occurred Monday or Tuesday, along with three additional deaths considered coronavirus-related by doctors but without confirmation of the illness from test results.
One of the newly confirmed deaths dated back to April 22, which gives that date 48 deaths and makes it the state's deadliest single day during the pandemic.
The latest state statistics list 1,482 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, along with 137 deaths with probable infections. Indiana's earliest recorded coronavirus death was less than two months ago on March 15.
More than two dozen additional testing sites opened around the state Wednesday as part of the state's expanded coronavirus testing program, the health department said. Those sites are part of the state's nearly $18 million contract with OptumServe Health Services, which opened its first 20 testing locations last week.
The tests are available to those with symptoms of the respiratory illness, those in close contact with someone infected and people with high-risk health conditions.
Test registration can be done online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1116.