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With the calendar turning to a new year, Indiana County remains in the grip of the accelerating COVID-19 pandemic.

While the county recorded 41 total coronavirus-related deaths in the first seven-plus months of the outbreak, 85 people died in December alone. The toll now stands at 126, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. More than 3 percent of all confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the county have been fatal.

The county saw its first case on March 25, according to the health department. By the end of March, there were just six cases confirmed locally.

After a steady rise in COVID cases through October, the number of infections began to soar in November (1,352) and rose even higher in December (1,420). The last two months of 2020 accounted for 69.5 percent of all cases.

All told, Indiana County has reported 3,984 infections to date.

The county’s positivity rate through Thursday was 35.2 percent.

Figures for New Year’s Day have not yet been announced.

The trend locally mirrors what is happening statewide, where 7,714 additional infections have been tallied since Thursday, bringing the state’s year-end total to 648,039. Another 236 deaths have been reported since Thursday, increasing that total to 16,214 Pennsylvanians.

And the nation surpassed 20 million infections on Friday, reaching the milestone just 54 days after topping 10 million, a level that took 253 days to reach. That’s nearly twice as many as the No. 2 country, India, and nearly one-quarter of the more than 83 million cases globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

More than 347,000 Americans have died so far from COVID-19.

Number of cases reported in Indiana County, by month.

First case reported March 25.

Date                      Cases    Increase

April 1                   6

May 1                    64           58

June 1                  92           28

July 1                    121        29

Aug. 1                   256        135

Sept. 1                  427        171

Oct. 1                    737        310

Nov. 1                   1,212     475

Dec. 1                   2,564     1,352    

Jan. 1                    3,984     1,420    

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health