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Indiana governor urges virus safety steps, not tougher rules

Indiana will keep its current coronavirus restrictions in place for at least most of August, with Gov. Eric Holcomb choosing Wednesday to encourage compliance with safety measures amid continued concerns about recent growth in the state’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Posted: Jul 30, 2020 9:22 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana will keep its current coronavirus restrictions in place for at least most of August, with Gov. Eric Holcomb choosing Wednesday to encourage compliance with safety measures amid continued concerns about recent growth in the state’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Holcomb announced that statewide limits including crowd sizes for restaurants, bars and public events would remain in effect until Aug. 27. The Republican governor lifted the state’s stay-at-home order and began easing business restrictions in early May, but he’s delayed the final lifting of crowd limits for the past month.

Holcomb is leaving it up to city and county officials to take any more aggressive measures, such as closing bars, which have been linked to a rise in cases among young adults across the country. That’s despite fears among federal officials that Indiana and other Midwestern states could see a significant jump in COVID-19 infections.

While Indianapolis officials have ordered bars in the city shut down, Holcomb emphasized that steps as wearing face masks as required under a new state mandate and proper distancing should be followed to slow the virus spread.

“We think we can get there with good enforcement on the ground with the guidelines that are there right now,” Holcomb said.

SCHOOL REOPENINGS

State officials declined Wednesday to recommend any statewide action on school reopenings as school districts across Indiana make widely differing decisions on whether to have students back in classrooms.

Students returned Wednesday to full-time in-person classes in the western Indianapolis suburb of Avon, while Indianapolis Public Schools officials announced plans to conduct all classes online until at least October. They said that “will allow more time for the number of COVID-19 cases in Marion County to stabilize and decrease to a less dangerous level.”

Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said her agency was giving recommendations to school leaders on steps such as limiting student interaction and assigning classroom and bus seats. She also pointed to the statewide mask order that requires face coverings at school for those in grades 3 and higher.

The COVID-19 infection levels vary across the state and each school district needs to assess the risk in their community, Box said.

“To say this is a specific number that we’re going to use is really not appropriate,” she said. “Schools are really actively engaged in deciding what is safest and best for their students and when to open.”

EVICTION MORATORIUM

Holcomb said he would extend the state order banning evictions from rental homes and mortgage foreclosures until Aug. 14.

That ban has been in effect since the early days of the national pandemic response in March and the looming expiration of such freezes across the country has raised worries about an eviction crisis among people who’ve been unable to pay for their housing.

State officials encouraged residents who need rent payment assistance to apply for grants from a $25 million program with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority funded by the federal coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress. That Indiana program has already received more than 20,000 applications.

LATEST VIRUS SPREAD

The state health department on Wednesday added eight more COVID-19 fatalities to the state’s death toll, raising that to 2,932 since mid-March.

Over the past month, Indiana’s rolling seven-day average number of new confirmed cases has more than doubled to about 800 a day, while the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have grown by about 50% during that time.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 73287

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15701725
Lake7496275
Elkhart480184
Allen3835163
St. Joseph342381
Hamilton2723104
Vanderburgh192213
Hendricks1871108
Cass17869
Johnson1741118
Porter129439
Clark120247
Tippecanoe118911
Madison94365
LaPorte89430
Howard88465
Kosciusko84712
Bartholomew78047
Marshall77422
Floyd77246
Monroe74630
Delaware71452
Dubois68712
Boone67246
Noble66329
Hancock64738
Vigo61910
Jackson5855
Warrick57930
LaGrange55710
Shelby54627
Grant52630
Dearborn49628
Morgan46734
Clinton4303
Henry37620
Wayne36810
White36110
Montgomery35221
Lawrence34227
Decatur33532
Harrison32723
Putnam2868
Miami2692
Scott26610
Daviess26420
Greene24634
Franklin24114
Jasper2342
DeKalb2304
Jennings22412
Gibson2214
Steuben2073
Ripley1997
Fayette1867
Carroll1852
Perry18412
Starke1777
Posey1700
Orange16924
Wabash1653
Fulton1642
Wells1622
Jefferson1602
Knox1510
Whitley1516
Washington1391
Tipton1379
Spencer1313
Huntington1223
Newton11810
Randolph1184
Clay1165
Sullivan1131
Adams962
Jay910
Owen871
Pulaski791
Rush764
Brown731
Fountain732
Blackford632
Ohio635
Benton610
Pike530
Parke511
Vermillion490
Switzerland460
Crawford440
Martin430
Union390
Warren221
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COVID-19 Important links and resources

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