INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s statewide face mask mandate is set to expire unless Gov. Eric Holcomb acts Wednesday to extend the order he issued a month ago aimed at slowing the coronavirus spread.
Holcomb, who scheduled a Wednesday afternoon news conference, said last month the mask order was needed 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.
Mask Up Hoosiers
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.
The current statewide mask order is set to expire late Wednesday, along with the limits Holcomb has kept in place on crowd sizes for restaurants, bars and public events.
Violating the mask order has carried no penalties.
It 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.