INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana health officials on Wednesday added 51 coronavirus deaths to the state’s death toll, raising it to 1,264 since the state’s first death was recorded about seven weeks ago.
Most of the newly reported COVID-19 deaths occurred Monday or Tuesday, but one dated to April 20, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.
Travel and business restrictions eased Monday across most of the state under a new order from Gov. Eric Holcomb. He has cited a stabilization in the number of coronavirus patients being treated in intensive care units and on ventilators for allowing gradual lifting of those restrictions.
The latest state statistics showed 525 COVID-19 patients were in the intensive care units of Indiana hospitals and that 41% of ICU beds remained available as of Tuesday. That’s 46 more coronavirus patients in those ICUs than on Monday, but 104 fewer than on April 23.
The state health department also has recorded 113 presumed deaths of people with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. Those are deaths that state officials said doctors blame on coronavirus infections without confirmation of the illness from test results.
Indianapolis officials are keeping the city’s stay-at-home order and restrictions on nonessential businesses in place through at least next week even as statewide rules aimed at slowing the coronavirus spread have been eased.
The governor’s new statewide order allows Indianapolis to begin lifting restrictions on Monday, but Mayor Joe Hogsett said Wednesday that the tougher city rules would continue until May 15. Hogsett cited the population density of the state’s largest city for keeping restrictions that have been relaxed in the city’s surrounding suburbs.
City officials are also continuing a ban on religious services that are being allowed beginning Friday in much of the state by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s order.
Hogsett said he knew that was “heartbreaking” for many people but that caution was needed in the city, where state health officials have recorded at least 390 COVID-19 deaths.
A plan for easing restrictions in the city should be released early next week, said Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department.
“If we do not continue to adhere to social distancing, if we do not let science and health data guide our decision making, any glimpse of reopening will not be permanent and our community members will suffer,” Caine said.