Indiana has once more shattered its previous record for new COVID-19 cases.
The Indiana Department of Health added a whopping 12,960 new COVID-19 cases to its official dashboard Wednesday. All but 33 of those cases were confirmed on Tuesday.
Six days ago, the state blasted past its previous high of 8,436 new cases recorded in early December 2020 and reported 12,020 new cases. The official tally for Dec. 29 on the state dashboard is now 11,792 cases confirmed.
The seven-day new case average is now 9,251, higher than it has been at any other point in the pandemic to date.
COVID in Indiana: Indiana limits rapid testing due to shortage
As of the week of Dec. 20, more than half of the cases identified in the state were due to the omicron variant, the latest iteration of the virus which is far more infectious than its predecessors.
While studies suggest that omicron may cause milder disease than the delta variant, which caused the last COVID-19 surge, hospitalizations in Indiana have continued to climb. On Wednesday, Indiana reported 3,260 people hospitalized with the virus, less than 200 fewer than the peak of 3,460 on Nov. 30, 2020.
The state's hospitals, however, are already struggling to handle the influx of COVID-19 patients, along with a flood of those with other medical conditions. Just over 10% of intensive care unit beds are available and emergency rooms are crowded with patients.
'Stretched beyond prior belief': Hospitals strive to handle latest COVID-19 surge
Indiana's positivity rate has also reached its highest point yet. As of seven days ago, the most recent day with data available, the seven-day average positivity rate hit 22.5%. Prior to this most recent surge, Indiana's positivity rate had not topped 20%.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, health department officials announced that the agency's head State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box had tested positive for COVID-19 with a rapid test. Box is fully vaccinated and had COVID-19 in the fall of 2020.
While fully vaccinated and boosted people can contract omicron, they are far less likely to develop severe disease and require hospitalization so health officials are continuing to strongly urge everyone eligible to get vaccinated.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Omicron surges: Indiana reports record 12,960 new COVID-19 cases