Indiana mask mandate to remain in effect through March; vaccine eligibility continuing by age group

Gov. Eric Holcomb also said he wouldn’t follow fellow Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi in lifting or further easing their statewide mask mandates, with Indiana’s in place at least through March 31.

Posted: Mar 4, 2021 9:47 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana officials opened up COVID-19 vaccination eligibility on Wednesday to all residents 50 and older.

The step comes a day after the state health department began allowing all those ages 55-59 to register for vaccination appointments.

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Gov. Eric Holcomb also said he wouldn’t follow fellow Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi in lifting or further easing their statewide mask mandates, with Indiana’s in place at least through March 31.

VACCINE AVAILABILITY

Holcomb and state health officials said they would stick with their plan to continue expanding vaccine eligibility by age even though President Joe Biden called this week for states to make vaccinating teachers a priority.

State health officials say distributing shots based on age groups protects those most vulnerable to severe illnesses and deaths from the coronavirus.

“Our age-based approach is working,” said Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the state health department’s chief medical officer. “It has been driven by data and we will stay the course, and we will continue our work to reduce hospitalizations and save lives in Indiana.”

Indiana teachers younger than 50 could become eligible for shots under a federal program being operated at Kroger, Meijer and Walmart stores, state officials said.

The state health department is also making shots available to those who are undergoing dialysis or cancer treatments or have conditions such as Down syndrome or sickle cell disease.

Officials said those eligible because of health conditions will be notified about how to schedule an appointment.

About 9% of Indiana residents, of about 600,000, have now been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus since shots first became available to health care workers and older residents in mid-December, the health department said Wednesday.

MASK MANDATE

Even though Indiana’s coronavirus-related hospitalization and deaths have fallen about 80% from their December peaks, Holcomb continues to call for people to follow precautions such as mask wearing and distancing to slow the virus spread.

The governors in Texas and other states have loosen COVID-19 restrictions in recent days despite warnings from health officials against doing so.

Holcomb last week announced a 30-day extension of the mask mandate, which will cover most of the time that the entire NCAA men’s basketball tournament is being played at sites in Indianapolis, Bloomington and West Lafayette.

“We just need to do it looking at Indiana numbers, not Texas, not Mississippi, not Nebraska, not Vermont,” Holcomb said Wednesday. “I’m on the phone with all these governors, they’re all very respected voices in the country, but I’ll continue to focus on what’s going on in Indiana, not around the country.”

The state’s 648 coronavirus-related deaths reported so far for February are about one-fifth of the 3,009 recorded during December, Indiana’s deadliest month during the pandemic.

GOVERNOR’S SHOT

Holcomb, who is 52, said he would receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Friday during a mass vaccination clinic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Holcomb had said he didn’t expect to receive a jab until his age group’s time arrived because he doesn’t have health problems.

“I’m not cutting in line but I’m eligible,” Holcomb said. “And I want to be a good example on that front.”

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who is 69, received her second dose of the two-shot Pfizer vaccine last week, according to her office.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 704632

Reported Deaths: 13211
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion961411718
Lake51322943
Allen39040670
Hamilton34368405
St. Joseph33865539
Elkhart27197431
Vanderburgh22050394
Tippecanoe21725212
Johnson17475374
Porter17240298
Hendricks16754310
Clark12663190
Madison12321337
Vigo12172244
Monroe11417166
LaPorte10841204
Delaware10325184
Howard9629211
Kosciusko9098113
Hancock7954139
Bartholomew7867155
Warrick7680155
Floyd7543176
Wayne6887198
Grant6773171
Boone6524100
Morgan6379138
Dubois6074117
Marshall5770108
Dearborn568576
Cass5678102
Henry5569100
Noble539383
Jackson492869
Shelby478295
Lawrence4336118
Gibson427789
Harrison427570
Clinton417753
Montgomery417286
DeKalb407984
Huntington377480
Whitley376339
Miami371765
Knox365789
Steuben363357
Putnam352360
Jasper347546
Wabash347377
Adams337852
Ripley333468
Jefferson312180
White307854
Daviess289399
Wells285581
Decatur278592
Fayette277162
Greene270485
Posey268433
Scott260853
Clay253044
LaGrange252170
Randolph234680
Washington230631
Spencer227531
Jennings224747
Fountain208245
Sullivan207542
Starke202652
Owen191956
Fulton190939
Jay185829
Carroll185620
Perry179736
Orange176753
Rush170624
Vermillion165943
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144316
Blackford133331
Pike130234
Pulaski113245
Newton103034
Brown99740
Crawford97514
Benton96413
Martin82515
Warren79315
Switzerland7698
Union69710
Ohio55711
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1050112

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1219281356
Cuyahoga1067232069
Hamilton780741168
Montgomery49976996
Summit45252909
Lucas39984765
Butler37678570
Stark31385895
Lorain24111473
Warren23864293
Mahoning20869583
Lake19963362
Clermont19423229
Delaware18002130
Licking16109207
Fairfield15676197
Trumbull15553460
Medina14839259
Greene14643236
Clark13602293
Wood12733185
Portage12353196
Allen11312229
Richland11025198
Miami10525214
Muskingum8702127
Wayne8556209
Columbiana8535226
Pickaway8429121
Tuscarawas8370240
Marion8365135
Erie7554154
Hancock6694123
Ross6693146
Geauga6532146
Ashtabula6470165
Scioto6286101
Belmont5610158
Union557447
Lawrence5465102
Jefferson5303147
Huron5298114
Darke5268121
Sandusky5171120
Seneca5108120
Washington5073107
Athens500656
Auglaize475184
Mercer471184
Shelby455890
Knox4380108
Madison421559
Putnam420799
Ashland412688
Fulton409167
Defiance400896
Crawford3866101
Brown386055
Logan372876
Preble369898
Clinton360560
Ottawa356578
Highland346359
Williams324974
Champaign319257
Jackson307951
Guernsey306149
Perry289649
Fayette277348
Morrow274639
Hardin264164
Henry263566
Coshocton258857
Holmes253099
Van Wert238862
Gallia233346
Pike232931
Adams227852
Wyandot226953
Hocking208959
Carroll189147
Paulding168638
Meigs141538
Noble132837
Monroe128841
Morgan106623
Harrison105236
Vinton81414
Unassigned02
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