On Wednesday, May 13, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reported the first COVID-19 death in two months.

During the latest update, the ISDH reported the 156th local death was recorded Monday, May 2.

The last time a local COVID-19 death was reported was Friday, March 18.

“In general, with deaths, there is an inherent reporting lag from when a person dies and when a death certificate is submitted, entered into the vital records database and then matched with COVID-19 case data. Deaths cannot be included in the dashboard until they are reported to ISDH,” said ISDH deputy chief of staff and Office of Public Affairs director Jennifer O’Malley, in response to a Plain Dealer request Friday, May 13.

O’Malley said Omicron subvariants continue to be the dominant strains circulating in Indiana and the U.S.

“Indiana, along with other states, continues to sequence cases to look at trends and to identify any potential new variants that might be circulating,” said O’Malley.

On Thursday, May 12, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb directed flags in the state of Indiana to be flown at half-staff in remembrance of the one million American lives lost to COVID-19, said press secretary Erin Murphy.

“Per President (Joe) Biden’s order, flags should be flown at half-staff immediately until sunset on Monday, May 16. Gov. Holcomb is asking businesses and residents in Indiana to lower their flags,” said Murphy.

On Wednesday, March 30, the ISDH announced that Hoosiers age 12 and older who have weakened immune systems and individuals age 50 and older who received a booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago are eligible for a second booster.

“The ISDH is advising vaccine providers that they can begin administering second boosters of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to individuals who qualify to increase their protection against severe disease from COVID-19,” stated the ISDH. “In addition, the CDC says that adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least four months ago may now receive a second booster dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.”

Booster doses have been shown to increase protection from hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant of the virus, stated the ISDH.

To find a vaccine location, visit www.ourshot.in.gov or call 866-211-9966.

For more information, visit www.health.in.gov.

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