Over the past few days, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has reported four new local COVID-19 deaths, making this the deadliest week for the disease in Wabash County in months.

On Wednesday, the ISDH reported the 88th local COVID-19 death. On Friday, the ISDH reported the 89th local COVID-19 death. The ISDH dashboard does not update over the weekend any longer. However, when it was updated again Monday, it showed that the 90th and 91st local deaths had been reported over the weekend.

The recent increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths statewide has caused the state to increase the availability of free COVID-19 testing, which had been previously been ratcheted down due to comparatively lower amounts of community spread.

On Friday, Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) deputy chief of staff and Office of Public Affairs director Jennifer O’Malley said they would continue to “deploy mobile clinics across the state to help increase access to testing.”

“We have created an online portal through which local communities can request a mobile clinic,” said O’Malley. “These locations vary by week.”

On Tuesday, the ISDH announced they would be deploying mobile clinics to the following counties this week to provide testing and vaccinations: Boone, Carroll, Clark, Elkhart, Franklin, Hancock, Howard, LaPorte, Madison, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Orange, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, Vigo and Wells.

Also on Friday, the ISDH announced it had partnered with Gravity Diagnostics to increase free COVID-19 testing across the state.

Under the partnership, the Covington, Kentucky-based Gravity will provide the staff and supplies needed to collect and analyze up to 5,000 COVID-19 tests per day, including rapid antigen and PCR tests. The testing operation will scale up in the coming weeks and will have the ability to expand to up to 45 sites as the need warrants. Sites will remain at designated locations for fixed periods to increase the availability of testing in communities that currently lack adequate testing resources.

The contract will run until June 30, 2022, with an option to extend if needed.

While community testing is the initial focus of the partnership, the agreement also offers the option to provide voluntary testing in K-12 school settings statewide. Under that provision, Gravity will coordinate with schools directly to determine their interest in testing. Details are still being finalized.

Testing sites will be posted at www.coronavirus.in.gov and https://gravity diagnostics.com/covid-19 -testing-drive-thru -locations/.

On Tuesday, the ISDH reported that 3,580 additional Hoosiers had been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 913,528 the number of Indiana residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard.

To date, 14,482 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, which includes 91 newly reported deaths that occurred between Aug. 29 and Sept. 13. Another 458 probable deaths have been reported to date based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record.

A total of 4,060,372 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 4,052,405 on Monday. A total of 12,903,528 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the ISDH since Feb. 26, 2020.

To find testing sites around the state, visit www.coronavirus.in.gov and click on the COVID-19 testing information link. Clinics are being added regularly around the state.

Hoosiers age 12 and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine; individuals younger than age 18 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine only. To find a vaccination clinic near you, visit https://ourshot.in.gov or call 211 if you do not have access to a computer or require assistance. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are accepted at most sites.

COVID-19 vaccines will also be offered from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Indiana Tech, 1600 E. Washington Blvd., Fort Wayne; and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Wendell Willkie Days, Edward Jones Parking Lot, 325 N. Main St., Rushville.

Hoosiers in the ZIP codes in which the clinics are located will receive a text message or email informing them of the locations and services offered.

As of Tuesday, a total of 6,363,906 doses have been administered in Indiana. This includes 3,188,890 first doses and 3,175,016 individuals who are fully vaccinated. The fully vaccinated number represents individuals who have received a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and those who received the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabash plaindealer.com.