Indiana reported 970 new coronavirus cases Thursday along with 13 additional deaths related to the virus, according to the state's health department.
The new daily rise lifts the state's total number of cases since the pandemic began to 65,253. The additional deaths bring the total fatalities to 2,746, with another 200 "probable deaths."
In all, 735,848 tests have been performed, up from 724,238 the day before, keeping the state's positivity rate flat at 8.9%, according to the Indiana State Health Department.
The new numbers come one day after Indiana's governor announced the state will remain in phase 4.5 of its reopening plan for several more weeks, further delaying a plan to fully reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.
Citing a "persistent high positivity rate ticking up," Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state will continue in its current reopening phase through at least Aug. 27, maintaining restrictions on crowd sizes for restaurants, bars and public events, which were scheduled to expire Saturday.
Another of Indiana’s largest school districts also announced this week it plans to not have students return to classrooms until October as school leaders struggle with reopening decisions.
Indiana's new statewide face mask mandate took effect Monday as the state joined many others in the attempt to slow the coronavirus spread.
The order applies to anyone ages 8 and older in any indoor public or business areas and at outdoor public spaces when sufficient distancing can’t be maintained.
Holcomb said a renewed growth in the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations necessitated the mask order. He said he did not want Indiana to have to follow other states and restore business restrictions that had been lifted in the past couple months.
Indiana’s attorney general believes the governor overstepped his authority in issuing the statewide face mask mandate and that only the Legislature can make violations a criminal offense.