Indiana reinstating some coronavirus limits as risk spreads

The new steps being imposed by Gov. Eric Holcomb will limit social gathering sizes in those counties at the higher-risk levels of coronavirus spread and would cover 87 of the state’s 92 counties as of Wednesday’s update from the state health department.

Posted: Nov 12, 2020 10:14 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor announced Wednesday that he would reinstate some coronavirus restrictions after several weeks of refusing to take such action as the state has recorded sharp increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

The new steps being imposed by Gov. Eric Holcomb will limit social gathering sizes in those counties at the higher-risk levels of coronavirus spread and would cover 87 of the state’s 92 counties as of Wednesday’s update from the state health department.

A new executive order starting this weekend will limit crowd sizes to 25 people in the highest-risk red counties and 50 people in the next-riskiest orange counties, with larger events needing approval from local health officials.

The new order will also limit capacity at K-12 indoor sports and extracurricular events to 25% capacity in orange counties and only parents or guardians as spectators in red counties.

Religious services, however, will face no crowd restrictions.

Holcomb said he was also extending the statewide mask mandate for another month.

Indiana is following several other states in toughening restrictions as deaths and new cases per day are rising across the country, which health experts have blamed in part on the onset of cold weather and growing frustration with mask-wearing and other precautions.

Holcomb had decided in late September to lift nearly all of Indiana’s business and crowd size restrictions.

Since then, Indiana hospitals have seen a 200% increase in COVID-19 patients and the seven-day rolling average of deaths has jumped from 10 a day to 38, just short of the state’s peak in late April.

The Republican governor had for weeks resisted taking any new actions as he faced conservative complaints during this reelection campaign that he had infringed on individual liberties, along with criticism from this Democratic challenger that his response was too passive.

Holcomb said a day after winning reelection last week that he wasn’t planning any changes to COVID-19 policy, but on Wednesday blamed residents for not abiding by precautions such as mask wearing and distancing to slow the virus spread.

“Unfortunately, too many of us, and around the country, have let our guards down, and either assumed we won’t get it or if we do, so be it, we’ll get through it,” Holcomb said.

The increased COVID-19 case load has strained hospitals around the state and threatens to exceed their bed capacity and overwhelm their health care staffs, he said.

“We must do all we can to protect our hospital capacity so they can protect patients and care for them — not only for those who have the COVID but for the cancer patient and the heart patient and other Hoosier patients who need care,” Holcomb said.

Hospitals scattered across the state, including the South Bend, Evansville and Lafayette areas, are at or near capacity with additional COVID-19 patients and some have had to take steps such as diverting ambulances and delaying some medical procedures, Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor said.

“The strain is making it so there are fewer and fewer places that now can handle the increased workload when one hospital becomes overrun,” Tabor said in an interview.

The updated risk map released Wednesday by the state health department listed 87 of the state’s 92 counties in the highest two of its four risk levels.

The agency assigned the most dangerous red rating to nine counties, all in rural areas of the state. None received the lowest-level blue rating.

In early October, the state’s risk map gave all but nine counties the less-serious yellow or blue ratings. Those ratings are based on the number of new cases per 100,000 residents and the percentage of tests confirming COVID-19 infections.

State health officials on Wednesday added 31 more deaths to Indiana’s pandemic toll, raising it to 4,762 fatalities, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus infections since March.

No penalties for violations of the new restrictions were announced Wednesday and Holcomb’s previous orders have included few or no such penalties.

While religious services will be exempt from the new crowd limits, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box encouraged more people to participate in virtual services because of infections linked to such in-person services.

“There is a spike every week on Sunday related to church events,” Box said. “... When we’re singing and we’re praising that even causes more dispersion of this virus.”

The public needs to take the virus spread more seriously while waiting for approval and distribution of vaccines, said Tabor, the hospital association’s leader.

“The only way to relieve the stress on the system now is to change that trajectory that we are on,” Tabor said. “It is going to take us a couple of months to get over this hump.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1011197

Reported Deaths: 16524
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1359292129
Lake666181167
Allen58254802
Hamilton46498467
St. Joseph44559617
Elkhart36044510
Vanderburgh32333481
Tippecanoe28037260
Johnson25196446
Hendricks23960360
Porter22985367
Madison18820410
Clark18609253
Vigo17530303
Monroe15319200
LaPorte15230252
Delaware15127264
Howard14801290
Kosciusko12410149
Hancock11773176
Bartholomew11695180
Warrick11305189
Floyd11138215
Wayne11023253
Grant10131220
Morgan9506177
Boone8965116
Dubois8281131
Henry8252153
Dearborn823493
Noble8064106
Marshall7981135
Cass7556123
Lawrence7479172
Shelby7216119
Jackson700990
Gibson6614115
Harrison651892
Huntington6447100
Knox6427106
DeKalb6363100
Montgomery6293112
Miami595298
Putnam584179
Clinton579271
Whitley568455
Steuben566876
Wabash5363104
Jasper536180
Jefferson513297
Ripley501987
Adams483777
Daviess4684115
Scott439875
Greene427296
Clay426960
Wells426088
White420964
Decatur4177104
Fayette407387
Jennings390262
Posey377544
LaGrange361778
Washington360451
Randolph3476100
Spencer340743
Fountain336160
Sullivan330852
Starke319171
Owen315571
Fulton313468
Orange295064
Jay285546
Franklin266443
Perry265752
Rush263832
Carroll262434
Vermillion259854
Parke232029
Pike229643
Tipton229059
Blackford195042
Pulaski184657
Crawford160125
Newton159848
Benton151217
Brown147047
Martin139319
Switzerland135311
Warren121416
Union107216
Ohio84613
Unassigned0544

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1524169

Reported Deaths: 23955
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1646591696
Cuyahoga1468932459
Hamilton1056051431
Montgomery742551279
Summit620221111
Lucas56539917
Butler51696718
Stark468601064
Lorain35783585
Warren32903377
Mahoning30927693
Clermont28271330
Lake27179448
Delaware24263164
Licking24027294
Trumbull22993561
Fairfield22438247
Greene22414326
Medina22149313
Clark19920354
Richland18643292
Portage18073252
Wood17505224
Allen16054279
Miami15627306
Muskingum14890185
Columbiana14153274
Wayne13852271
Tuscarawas12777311
Marion12016180
Scioto11497162
Pickaway11386142
Erie10951184
Ross10614203
Ashtabula9809204
Lawrence9783153
Hancock9741155
Belmont9333209
Geauga9008157
Jefferson8600199
Huron8427143
Union822259
Washington8114144
Sandusky7875151
Athens779579
Knox7766144
Darke7695158
Seneca7405145
Ashland6993130
Auglaize681799
Shelby6540115
Brown640091
Crawford6292130
Defiance6241105
Mercer617893
Fulton605196
Highland602899
Guernsey596371
Madison595678
Logan594596
Clinton585193
Preble5730125
Putnam5354110
Williams530888
Perry519863
Champaign514273
Jackson512473
Ottawa490586
Coshocton488383
Morrow460558
Pike435067
Fayette430363
Hardin420780
Gallia419367
Adams417995
Van Wert374082
Henry366972
Holmes3653125
Hocking357582
Wyandot325262
Carroll304365
Paulding280747
Meigs267251
Monroe216254
Noble201247
Morgan194333
Harrison182646
Vinton167225
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Huntington
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Decatur
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Van Wert
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After a soggy couple of days, the sunshine returns Tuesday and highs top out in the middle 50s.
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