Indiana is averaging nearly as many coronavirus-related deaths now as it did during the spring’s initial surge of cases, with heath officials adding 50 more deaths to the state’s toll Friday.
Gov. Eric Holcomb also signed a new executive order Friday reinstating limits on crowd sizes for nearly every county across the state starting Sunday after several weeks of refusing to take such action amid sharp increases in Indiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and new infections.
The new deaths occurring over several days have pushed the state’s moving seven-day fatality average to 40 per day, just short of highest average of 42 a day recorded in late April.
Indiana’s COVID-19 deaths average has tripled since Holcomb lifted nearly all coronavirus-related restrictions in late September. During that time, COVID-19 hospitalizations have gone up 200% and the seven-day moving average of newly confirmed infections is six times higher.
Gary’s mayor is following Indianapolis officials by tightening capacity limits for bars and other businesses while many school districts across the state are shifting away from in-person classes.
Gary Mayor Jerome Prince cited a steep increase in the city’s COVID-19 infections in ordering that all gatherings, including religious services, have a maximum of 50 people and limiting bars and nightclubs to 50% capacity.
Holcomb announced his new order on Wednesday, saying he was worried about a strain on hospital capacity. It limits crowd sizes to 25 people in the highest-risk red counties under the state’s assessment map and 50 people in the next-riskiest orange counties, with larger events needing approval from health officials.
The order directs the state health and homeland security departments and the state alcohol commission to work with local health agencies on enforcement of mask wearing and distancing at businesses. It recommends incremental warnings for violations and possible orders for business closures for those refusing to comply.