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Indiana governor extends statewide mask order for 30 days

Indiana’s statewide face mask order will remain in place for another month as Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday it was still needed to control the coronavirus spread.

Posted: Aug 26, 2020 5:26 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s statewide face mask order will remain in place for another month as Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday it was still needed to control the coronavirus spread.

Holcomb first issued the mask order last month because of a renewed growth in the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations across Indiana since he had started easing business and travel restrictions in early May.

The Republican governor he was also extending the state’s limits on crowd sizes for restaurants, bars and public events. Those orders were all set to expire late Wednesday unless the governor acted.

Holcomb said he was pleased the state’s rate of new coronavirus cases has been holding steady in recent weeks and “we don’t want that to trend up. We’d like to see it start to trend down.”

No penalties are included in Holcomb’s order for violators of the state mask mandate, which directs face covering use by anyone ages 8 and older in any indoor public or business areas and at outdoor public spaces when sufficient distancing can’t be maintained. It also requires masks in schools for grades 3 and above by students, teachers and other employees.

Holcomb acknowledged many residents aren’t following the order to wear face masks and said he would continue emphasizing education over penalties.

“There are some folks who don’t believe it helps,” Holcomb said. “I would disagree and offer science as the counterargument to that.”

Democratic governor candidate Woody Myers, who is challenging Holcomb in the November election, said Holcomb should join other governors by including possible criminal penalties in the mask mandate.

“Ensuring ‘law and order’ is a critical component of public health management,” said Myers, a physician and former state health commissioner.

Holcomb’s announcement 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 events.

State health officials on Wednesday recorded 18 more coronavirus-related deaths. That raised the state’s pandemic death toll to 3,259, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus cases, in the five months since Indiana’s first fatality was reported in mid-March, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

Indiana’s COVID-19 death rate has remained steady since the mask order took effect July 27. Both coronavirus hospitalizations and the seven-day average of 920 newly confirmed infections as of Tuesday have remained slightly higher than a month ago.

Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said while Indiana hospital’s had maintained stable intensive care unit and ventilator capacity for additional coronavirus patients, the statewide hospitalization of 987 COVID-19 patients as of Monday was up nearly two-thirds from June’s low of 595 patients.

Holcomb said he wasn’t setting a certain level of coronavirus cases at which the state restrictions would be lifted but that he believed the mask order and other steps were keeping the COVID-19 spread in check.

“I shudder to think about where we’d be had we just said ‘Come what may,’ we’re just going to continue to act like this isn’t an infectious virus that’s spreading through airborne droplets,” Holcomb said.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 667736

Reported Deaths: 12744
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion914111660
Lake48769893
Allen36211646
Hamilton32522398
St. Joseph30414514
Elkhart25548420
Vanderburgh21347382
Tippecanoe20259205
Johnson16497363
Porter16097281
Hendricks15967302
Clark12093182
Madison11815323
Vigo11702234
Monroe10445164
Delaware9903179
LaPorte9850201
Howard9134203
Kosciusko8600111
Bartholomew7533147
Hancock7476134
Warrick7459153
Floyd7271173
Wayne6666192
Grant6467158
Boone619591
Morgan6142129
Dubois5947112
Dearborn551770
Cass5493100
Marshall5457105
Henry544495
Noble514078
Jackson465967
Shelby463691
Lawrence4198113
Gibson406185
Harrison404165
Clinton398153
Montgomery392284
DeKalb388478
Miami358563
Knox357886
Whitley352838
Huntington351377
Steuben340656
Putnam335060
Wabash334076
Ripley328263
Adams327049
Jasper319643
White298553
Jefferson296574
Daviess286196
Fayette272956
Decatur271688
Greene263080
Posey261832
Wells259276
Scott252350
LaGrange242670
Clay241644
Randolph226577
Spencer219630
Jennings217044
Washington213527
Sullivan203839
Fountain202942
Starke190251
Owen184454
Fulton180037
Jay178828
Carroll177019
Perry174236
Orange171451
Rush165722
Vermillion161643
Franklin160235
Tipton150341
Parke140216
Pike128633
Blackford120727
Pulaski107844
Newton96932
Brown95340
Benton92613
Crawford92613
Martin80314
Warren76014
Switzerland7568
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0429

COVID-19 Important links and resources

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