COVID-19 deaths, confirmed cases continue to rise across NWI - May 6, 2020

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Written by Sarah Reese

Six additional COVID-19 deaths were reported Wednesday across Northwest Indiana, including three in Lake County, two in Porter County and one in LaPorte County.

The deaths bring the total number of deaths to 106 in Lake County, 10 in Porter County, nine in LaPorte County, eight in Newton County and one in Jasper County, according to the Indiana State Department of Health and county health departments.

The total number of Hoosiers who died after being diagnosed with COVID-19 rose by 51 to a total of 1,264, state and county data showed.

Another 113 deaths in Indiana were listed as probable, which means there was no positive test on record but a physician listed COVID-19 as a contributing cause based on X-rays, scans and other clinical symptoms.

Porter County, which has been releasing data independently from the state, said one of the deaths in its total was probable.

Three deaths in LaPorte County involved inmates at Westville Correctional Center, according to data posted by the Indiana Department of Correction. As of Wednesday evening, 66 Westville staff members and 166 inmates tested positive. No staff members have died due to the virus, reports said.

The additional deaths reported Wednesday occurred between April 20 and May 5.

A total of 21,870 Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, an increase of about 4.1% from numbers reported Tuesday.

In Lake County, 72 additional confirmed cases were reported Wednesday, for a total of 2,233.

Gary officials reported Wednesday a total of 469 confirmed cases and 15 deaths.

East Chicago reported Tuesday a total of 134 positive cases and six deaths.

Gary and East Chicago each operate their own health departments.

The Lake County Health Department reported Wednesday the following totals for other communities: Hammond, 351, up 10 from a day earlier; Crown Point, 249, up 17; Merrillville, 212, up three; Dyer, 185, up five; Hobart, 117, up one; Schererville, 112, up nine; Munster, 105, down two; Highland, 56, up three; Griffith, 48, down one; “unknown,” 46, up one; St. John, 37, up one; Cedar Lake, 36, up three; Lowell, 30, up one; Whiting, 29, no change; Lake Station, 27, no change; “other,” 11, no change; Schneider, three, no change; New Chicago, one, no change.

Totals can be reduced is health officials determine a patient lives in another community.

The Porter County Health Department reported five additional cases Wednesday, for a total of 290.

That number includes 13 being treated at hospitals and 170 who have recovered.

LaPorte County had 284 cases, an increase of 11 from the previous day, according to data released Wednesday morning by the state. More than half of LaPorte County’s cases involve inmates at the Westville prison, which has seen the number of cases level off during the past two weeks.

Newton and Jasper counties reported no change in case totals Wednesday, with 61 and 37, respectively.

Additional positive cases reported Wednesday occurred between April 25 and May 5, state officials said.

A total of 120,496 Hoosiers have been tested for COVID-19, an increase of about 4% from the day before.

Testing totals included 10,498 in Lake County, 2,090 in Porter County, 1,671 in LaPorte County, 535 in Jasper County and 181 in Newton County.

State officials said 20 sites around the state opened Wednesday through a partnership with OptumServe in an effort to increase testing. Another 30 testing sites will be announced by next week, state officials said.

Symptomatic individuals can register online at or by calling 888-634-1123. Clinics run Monday through Friday and include sites in Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Jasper counties.

Hoosiers will not be charged for testing and insurance is not required. If you have private health insurance, please bring that information with you, officials said.

The state department of health also will be offering additional drive-thru testing at St. Mark AME Zion Church, 4200 Alder Street, East Chicago, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

The Lake County Health Department partnered with Methodist Hospitals and Opus Inspection Inc. to offer a drive-thru testing site this week at the emissions testing facility at 1231 E. Gostlin St. in Hammond.

The site will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday.