Seventeen new coronavirus infection cases have been confirmed around Indiana, jumping the state’s total to 56, health officials said Thursday.
The virus causing COVID-19 illnesses has now been identified in 22 of Indiana’s 92 counties, the Indiana State Department of Health reported. Eight of the new cases are in Indianapolis, with others confirmed among residents of Howard, Lake, Owen, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe and Wayne counties.
Indiana has recorded two COVID-19 deaths, one each in Marion and Johnson counties.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Thursday that all K-12 public schools in the state will remain closed until May 1. Non-public schools were also ordered closed, Holcomb said in a statement, adding that the date "may be revised to extend through the end of the 2019-2020 school year if circumstances warrant."
At least one district in southeastern Indiana has already decided not to resume in-person classes this school year.
Several auto plants and other factories are closing around Indiana as the economic fallout spreads with recommendations of no public gatherings of more than 50 people and Holcomb’s call for restaurants and bars to halt in-person service.
The owners of the two largest hotels in downtown Indianapolis are considering temporary closures a'mid drastic declines in business.
The 1,005-room JW Marriott Indianapolis and other hotels across the country owned by Merrillville-based White Lodging are seeing occupancy rates in the low single digits, company Chairman Bruce White told the Indianapolis Business Journal. The 650-room Indianapolis Marriott Downtown also is considering closing temporarily, the IBJ reported.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.