Local COVID-19 death toll continues to climb

A sign marks the COVID-19 testing site at the old J.C. Penney store at FairOaks Mall in Columbus, Ind., which has since closed. Photo was taken Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. Mike Wolanin | The Republic Mike Wolanin

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The COVID-19 death toll continued to climb during the first half of November, increasing the number of lives cut short by the virus to 110 since a summer surge primarily driven by the delta variant swept across the region and sent more than 3,400 of local residents to hospital emergency rooms.

A total of 14 people in the Columbus area died from COVID-19 during the first half of November, or nearly one person every day and on pace for around 28 deaths this month, according to the Indiana Department of Health.

The area which includes Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jennings and Shelby counties saw 33 virus deaths in October and 46 in September.

A total of 29 Bartholomew County residents died from the virus from Aug. 1 to Nov. 15, or nearly 1 death every 3.5 days.

Overall, 186 Bartholomew County residents have died from COVID-19 over the past 19 months 1.6 times more than the 111 influenza and pneumonia deaths reported in the county from 2010 to 2019.

Local health officials have said that the vast majority of COVID-19 are avoidable if people were to get vaccinated. As of Friday morning, around 32,640 eligible Bartholomew County residents were not fully vaccinated, according to state records.

For the complete story, see Sunday’s Republic.