CHICAGO (CBS) — Indiana reported 129 new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, bringing to statewide death toll to nearly 7,000, according to the latest state health department data.

The state now has seen 6,968 deaths since March, making COVID-19 the third-leading cause of death in the state, behind heart disease and cancer. The number of Hoosiers in the hospital with COVID still remains near record highs but the trend is starting to flatten after a massive surge in November.

The number of COVID-19 cases has been declining in recent days as the state reported 4,347 new infections, the lowest daily number since Thanksgiving. In another positive sign, the positivity rate is also declining and now stands at around 12%.  However, the numbers are still significantly higher than they were during the early surge of the pandemic in April and May.

Vaccines also began arriving in the state this week.  Munster’s Community Hospital is getting its shipment of the vaccine on Tuesday.  It is one of five hospitals in the state to get the new shot from Pfizer. The numbers in Northwest Indiana are mirroring the state trends.  There were 445 new COVID cases reported, along with eight more deaths. Hospitalizations are also leveling off, but remain near record levels.