Officials reported Thursday that 14 more Northwest Indiana residents died from COVID-19, and another 1,079 tested positive, data showed.
New fatalities from the respiratory disease included four in Lake County, six in Porter County, and two each in LaPorte and Jasper counties, according to updated statistics provided by the Indiana State Department of Health and the Porter County Health Department.
The deaths were among 99 reported across Indiana during the 24-hour reported period, which pushed the state's count to 7,911.
New deaths were reported between Dec. 11 and Wednesday. All data are provisional and subject to change as more information is reported to the state.
A total of 972 people in Northwest Indiana have died since the pandemic began, including 606 in Lake County, 180 in Porter County, 137 in LaPorte County, 31 in Jasper County and 18 in Newton County.
State health officials listed 352 deaths statewide as probable. For probable deaths, 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. One of those probable deaths was in Porter County, local health officials said.
New cases added in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties over the 24-hour reporting period pushed the total number infected in the area to 63,530.
Cases totals the Region's five-county area included 39,833 in Lake County, up 563; 12,844 in Porter County, up 232; 7,553 in LaPorte County, up 211; 2,471 in Jasper County, up 59; and 829 in Newton County, up 14.
Across Indiana, there were 6,543 new cases, pushing the state's total to 511,485.
New cases were reported between Dec. 23 and Wednesday.
Across the state line, Calumet City had 2,574 cases, up two from Wednesday, with 27,020 tested. Lansing had 2,518 cases, up 19, and 21,124 tested, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The Porter County Health Department listed 35 patients hospitalized and 11,200 people recovered.
Positivity rates for all tests in NWI were 14.1% in Lake County, down from 14.2% the day before; 14.7% in Porter County, down from 15%; 16.8% in LaPorte County, up from 16%; 15.2% in Newton County, down from 16.4%; and 14.6% in Jasper County, up from 13.8%.
Contact tracing can become difficult when the number exceeds 5%, and community spread is considered out of control when the positivity rate is greater than 10%.
There are testing sites available around the state, including at the Lake County Health Department, 889 S. Court St., in Crown Point, and the Rensselaer Fire Station, 1066 W. Clark St., in Rensselaer. For more locations, visit www.coronavirus.in.gov and click on the COVID-19 testing information link.
Region restaurants that closed in 2020
2020 has been a hard year for restaurants in the Region with the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns and restrictions that followed. Here's a look at the restaurants, brewpubs and chain eateries Northwest Indiana lost in one of the toughest years in recent memory:
The reason why Bakers Square abruptly shuttered its restaurants in Lansing and Merrillville over the weekend has come to light.
3 Floyds told investors it is permanently closing its landmark brewpub in Munster, which has been a major draw to Northwest Indiana.
The owner of the Schererville and Merrillville Golden Corrals faces a murder charge in a cold case killing of a Missouri teen who was found in a drainage ditch with two gunshot wounds to the head.
There's no more going back for seconds or thirds at the Old Country Buffet in Highland.
Figure Eight Brewing, a staple of downtown Valparaiso for a decade, plans to close in two weeks.
Yats Creole and Cajun restaurant geaux out of business after after six years in Valparaiso.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in another permanent closure of a Region restaurant.
The authentic southern-style barbecue restaurant, one of the first to deliver food to local hospitals and first responders during the pandemic, is temporarily closing its locations in Dyer, Mokena, Milwaukee and Madison.
Four Winds Casino New Buffalo will replace The Hard Rock Cafe with Kankakee Grille, which will feature live music and modern comfort food.
Aspen Cafe closes after 30 years in St. John, the Pancake Club closes in Schererville, Pita Stop coming to Dyer
The Stacked Pickle restaurant chain that former Indianapolis Colts player Gary Brackett was trying to expand to Northwest Indiana and the south suburbs has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic.
NWI Business Ins and Outs: Q-BBQ closed, Chunky Tacos, Dunkin, Andrade Nails, NorthShore Health Centers, and Direct Mortgage Loans opening
Smoothie King comes to Crown Point, Kowloon and Canton House close, Caribbean jerk restaurant coming, Burger King getting rebuilt
NWI Business Ins and Outs: Domino's coming to Hobart, American Sale closes after 50 years in Lansing, sushi place comes to Winfield, and Troost closes
Pancakes are about to go global in Schererville.