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.

Confirmed Cases: 110759

Reported Deaths: 3503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20645758
Lake10172317
Elkhart6321108
St. Joseph600797
Allen5921200
Hamilton4646109
Vanderburgh327129
Hendricks2638121
Monroe236836
Johnson2250122
Tippecanoe218413
Clark210156
Porter203344
Cass19279
Delaware184261
Vigo175722
Madison156575
LaPorte135637
Floyd130061
Howard127063
Kosciusko118717
Bartholomew114557
Warrick111935
Marshall98024
Boone94446
Dubois94018
Hancock90042
Noble87632
Grant86733
Henry75424
Wayne73714
Jackson7319
Morgan69438
Shelby66329
Daviess63927
LaGrange62911
Dearborn62128
Clinton59112
Harrison55624
Putnam5209
Montgomery50221
Lawrence50028
White47814
Knox4769
Gibson4644
Decatur45339
DeKalb44211
Miami4223
Fayette41713
Greene41535
Jasper3802
Steuben3647
Scott35310
Sullivan32812
Jennings30812
Posey2940
Franklin29325
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll26913
Wabash2608
Washington2571
Starke2487
Wells2472
Whitley2476
Adams2403
Jefferson2403
Fulton2302
Huntington2173
Spencer2154
Tipton21522
Randolph2067
Perry20213
Newton17011
Jay1680
Owen1641
Martin1590
Rush1494
Pike1361
Vermillion1250
Fountain1152
Blackford1142
Pulaski1131
Crawford1020
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

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