Indiana governor urges churches to stay closed amid pandemic

Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday urged Indiana churches, synagogues and other faith venues to remain closed and adhere to social distancing guidelines during services and observances for Passover and Easter to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Posted: Apr 9, 2020 6:22 PM
Updated: Apr 11, 2020 7:09 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday urged Indiana churches, synagogues and other faith venues to remain closed and adhere to social distancing guidelines during services and observances for Passover and Easter to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Get the word and get home,” Holcomb told reporters during a daily update on Indiana’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. “This is about worship and we can follow the rules.”

As of Thursday, Indiana had 6,351 confirmed cases following corrections to the previous day’s total and 245 deaths due to complications from the COVID-19 virus.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

Holcomb has issued a stay-at-home order for all but essential workers. He also has said Indiana residents should follow social distancing guidelines, something that’s difficult during typical religious services.

Services should be held online, and any staff or volunteers present who are not speaking should wear masks over their noses and mouths, according to guidance from Holcomb’s office.

For churches holding drive-up services, people should remain in their vehicles and have no physical interaction with others.

“Communion should be brought from your own homes,” said Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana health commissioner. “Please don’t pass things out.”

The week leading up to Easter is considered the holiest time of year for many Christians, leaving churches to wrestle with how to hold services amid the coronavirus outbreak. In some cases, it has set up showdowns with local governments over restrictions that forbid large gatherings.

Many churches are offering parishioners livestreaming options so they can observe Good Friday and Easter on TVs, smartphones and computers. Others are holding services at drive-in movie theaters.

BIG JUMP

The reported deaths of 42 more Indiana residents from COVID-19 from Wednesday to Thursday marks the largest single-day jump in the state’s death toll during the pandemic. Indiana State Department of Health reported 34 deaths Tuesday.

The state agency, which has said that the additional deaths it reports each day occurred over multiple days, said an additional 430 residents had confirmed cases of COVID-19 — the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

Marion County, the home of Indianapolis, again had the most new cases, at 127, raising its total to 2,415 — or about 38% of Indiana’s total. Northwestern Indiana’s Lake County had 64 new cases, and nine other Indiana counties had 10 or more new confirmed cases.

The department said 32,133 Indiana residents had been tested for the coronavirus as of late Wednesday.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 147865

Reported Deaths: 7026
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook927814630
Lake10007423
DuPage9364475
Kane7877275
Will6957320
Winnebago310996
McHenry212097
St. Clair2037137
Kankakee131165
Rock Island106129
Madison104269
Kendall100021
Champaign96015
Boone61021
DeKalb58220
Peoria56728
Sangamon45532
Jackson34019
Randolph2887
McLean28513
Stephenson2785
Ogle2754
Clinton24217
Macon23622
LaSalle22817
Union19619
Whiteside19615
Coles17817
Grundy1775
Iroquois1645
Tazewell1528
Knox1470
Warren1450
Monroe13713
Cass1367
Williamson1334
Adams1311
Morgan1303
Jefferson10717
Lee1032
McDonough10215
Henry981
Pulaski790
Vermilion792
Marion700
Macoupin583
Perry581
Douglas540
Unassigned530
Livingston522
Montgomery491
Christian474
Jasper477
Jo Daviess471
Ford401
Woodford362
Jersey351
Franklin310
Bureau302
Menard250
Mercer250
Fayette233
Mason230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Carroll212
Washington210
Johnson200
Piatt200
Effingham191
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Logan180
Cumberland170
Bond161
Clark150
Fulton150
Massac150
Wayne141
Schuyler130
De Witt120
Marshall110
Brown100
Edgar100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
White80
Lawrence70
Hamilton60
Richland40
Stark40
Gallatin30
Out of IL30
Pike30
Clay20
Edwards20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110