INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana will extend its current capacity limits for restaurants and bars and other restrictions for at least another two weeks because of an increasing number of coronavirus cases across the state, Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday.
Holcomb first delayed lifting those limits two weeks ago, but he said that a continuing volatile environment in Indiana and other states prompted him to keep them in place for at least two more weeks.
Holcomb’s decision means Indiana restaurants will continue to be allowed 75% capacity in their dining rooms, while bars, nightclubs, bowling alleys, museums and movie theaters can be open at half capacity.
The state will also continue its current 250-person limit on social gatherings unless health officials have approved safety plans for those gatherings.
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A new jump in Indiana’s hospitalizations for coronavirus illnesses was reported Wednesday by state health officials ahead of an expected announcement by the governor on whether some business and crowd size restrictions will remain in place.
Gov. Eric Holcomb and the state health commissioner have scheduled a Wednesday afternoon news conference as school districts around Indiana are also weighing whether to have students return to classrooms in the coming weeks.
The 881 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday was the most since June 14 after falling to as low as 595 on June 26. Indiana had seen a steady decline in hospitalizations since being over 1,400 a day through April into early May before the recent trend upward.
The additional hospitalizations come as the state heath department has been reporting new confirmed COVID-19 infections at the highest levels since early May.
Holcomb started easing restrictions in early May and he had pointed to continuing declines in the number of people hospitalized in Indiana for COVID-19 and the availability of intensive care unit beds to treat those seriously ill.
But Holcomb decided two weeks ago to keep capacity limits in place for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, citing worries about a possible increase in coronavirus cases across the state.
An additional 10 coronavirus-related deaths were reported between Thursday and Tuesday. Those give the state 2,785 deaths of people with confirmed or presumed infections since mid-March. The seven-day average of deaths has remained less than 10 since June 29 after peaking at an average of 42 a day in late April.