ANDERSON – Thursday, WalletHub has released its updated ranking of “safest” states during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indiana ranked 51, ranking it as the least secure state, including the District of Columbia.
Rankings were based on the state’s vaccination rate, positive test rate, hospitalization rate, death rate, and estimated transmission rate.
In Indiana, which was ranked 48th out of 50 for vaccination rate, only 52% of Hoosiers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 57% of the population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to Stephenie Mellinger, administrator of the Madison County Department of Health, only 52% of the population of Madison County is fully vaccinated.
“If I knew what it took to get more people vaccinated in this county, I would have implemented it already,” she said.
The county health department is offered COVID-19 vaccines six days a week at its downtown building and also uses its mobile unit to administer vaccines to those who cannot make it to the building.
Mellinger noted that most people who come for the shot come for the booster.
“I am open to any strategies or conversations we need to increase our immunization rate,” she said.
In terms of hospitalization rates, Indiana ranked 46 out of 50, which means it has one of the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rates.
On December 8, MSN published an article in which six states accounted for about 60% of the country’s growing hospitalizations for COVID-19. Indiana is one of them.
Local hospitals are overwhelmed by the high number of hospitalizations.
“The Anderson Community Hospital COVID count is as high as it has ever been, even in the worst part of the initial pandemic, with 90% of these patients unvaccinated,” said Thomas Short, a specialist in emergency medicine, in an email to the Herald Bulletin.
Ascension St. Vincent Anderson has also seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients, starting in late November, said Regional President Margie Johnson.
“It’s not scientific, but obviously every time you have a vacation you can just watch the trend numbers go up.”
After Thanksgiving, COVID-19-related hospitalizations have increased, but Johnson said over the past few days it has declined a bit. Still, she expects the numbers to rebound after Christmas.
While Madison County is still at an orange advisory level for COVID-19, Mellinger said it could potentially be red before Christmas. She also said that after hitting red it could potentially stay red for a week or two, just like the county did last year.
“It’s incredibly frustrating that we’re in one place (like last year), but we have vaccination as another tool,” Mellinger said.
In Indiana, 95% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated, according to Mellinger.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, Mellinger, Short and Johnson are encouraging all people to get vaccinated.
“Getting the vaccine is the best way to avoid hospitalization, serious illness and even death,” Short said in his email.
In addition to getting the vaccine, wearing a mask, social distancing, and frequent hand washing are all steps that can be taken to reduce your risk of COVID-19.
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