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.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

COVID-19 Important links and resources

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