Indiana officials say ‘stay home’ as COVID-19 deaths climb

Indiana health officials are doubling down on pleas for Hoosiers to stay at home for the holidays and cooperate with virus mitigation efforts as statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to hit record highs.

Posted: Nov 25, 2020 5:58 PM
Updated: Dec 4, 2020 9:48 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana health officials are doubling down on pleas for Hoosiers to stay at home for the holidays and cooperate with virus mitigation efforts as statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to hit record highs.

The Indiana State Department of Health added 63 more deaths to Indiana’s pandemic toll Wednesday, making November Indiana’s deadliest COVID-19 month yet with 1,055 confirmed deaths. The previous monthly high for coronavirus deaths was 1,041 in April, when at most the state’s moving seven-day average was 42 fatalities a day.

The additional deaths raised Indiana’s pandemic total to 5,498 COVID-19 fatalities, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus infections, since March.

The record-breaking death total and other increasing metrics are “beyond heartbreaking,” state health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said during a Wednesday briefing with Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb. Roughly half of the deaths in the last week occurred among vulnerable residents and inside long term care facilities, she added.

For the second consecutive week, the state health department also listed 91 of the state’s 92 counties in the highest two of its four risk levels in its weekly tracking map update released Wednesday. The agency assigned the most dangerous red rating to 17 counties scattered around the state. Only one county was listed in the less-serious yellow rating, while none received the lowest-level blue rating.

“That’s very concerning, especially with Thanksgiving tomorrow,” Box said, adding that state health officials know many Hoosiers are ignoring pleas to stay home for the holidays.

Based on the spikes seen after previous festivities, Box said she’s concerned that many of the counties in orange could turn red within the coming weeks. With hospitals still “inundated” with COVID-19 patients — and with new admissions on the rise — the state health commissioner said that could put even more pressure on already strained healthcare workers and hospitals “struggling to give optimal care” to every patient coming through their doors.

Holcomb said he plans to meet with local elected officials, businesses and hospital administrators around the state next week to get “updated perspectives and input” about COVID-19 responses at the local and county levels, and to see how “the state could be doing more” to help out. The governor did not provide specific examples for such assistance, however.

Already, Indiana’s Department of Homeland Security, Alcohol and Tobacco Commission and State Fire Marshall have stepped in to do regularly scheduled inspections of businesses to promote “good practices,” Holcomb continued. Forty-seven alcohol-permitted businesses have so far been found to be out of compliance with mask or social distancing requirements, the governor said, though nearly all are now following the rules.

“We have a long way to go,” Holcomb said Wednesday. “We’ve got to be able to muster the strength and the wherewithal to make sure that over the course of the next few weeks ... and few months — before we get to that ultimate light at the end of the tunnel — hat we’re doing all we can to help our healthcare network and all those care workers.”

Holcomb lifted most restrictions on businesses and crowds Sept. 22 before reinstating some coronavirus limits earlier this month.

Since late September, Indiana’s rates of new COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths began a steep increase. Hospitalizations have jumped 312% to a pandemic high of 3,363 patients as of Tuesday, and its seven-day rolling average COVID-19 deaths has jumped from 10 a day to 49.

___

Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Cases: 1086333

Reported Deaths: 20423
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4391189148
DuPage699001160
Will58974881
Lake53926901
Kane46512696
Winnebago26504412
Madison24822471
St. Clair22624433
McHenry21916251
Champaign15667104
Peoria15231250
Sangamon14658236
McLean13350168
Tazewell12087249
Rock Island12027304
Kankakee11593185
Kendall981981
LaSalle9595248
Macon8893182
Vermilion7634115
DeKalb756592
Adams7442123
Williamson6247117
Boone558778
Whiteside5317175
Clinton510786
Coles473982
Ogle465171
Knox4640146
Grundy444554
Effingham433470
Jackson424470
Henry404477
Marion4026113
Macoupin391396
Franklin388470
Randolph374970
Livingston369768
Monroe362871
Stephenson356777
Jefferson3493104
Morgan327492
Woodford327067
Logan311557
Montgomery310548
Lee307674
Bureau301984
Christian300775
Fayette293653
Perry273961
Iroquois260558
Fulton258149
Jersey225859
Lawrence219030
McDonough216451
Saline204254
Douglas202134
Union200432
Shelby199135
Crawford179434
Cass176631
Bond176224
Warren159144
Pike157148
Richland155345
Wayne152843
Hancock151134
Jo Daviess150524
Clark150133
Washington146925
Edgar146553
Carroll145133
Ford138851
Moultrie138728
White136330
Clay132240
Greene125743
Johnson122415
Wabash119314
Piatt118216
Mason118041
Mercer117830
De Witt116327
Cumberland110027
Jasper104715
Massac104732
Menard90210
Hamilton72017
Marshall68214
Schuyler63216
Pulaski6203
Brown61311
Stark49520
Edwards4709
Henderson45616
Calhoun4464
Scott3961
Alexander3957
Gallatin3924
Putnam3522
Hardin3078
Pope2533
Unassigned1060
Out of IL320

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Cases: 601937

Reported Deaths: 9593
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion831111322
Lake44972678
Allen32498545
Hamilton29039315
St. Joseph27133380
Elkhart24291343
Vanderburgh19160246
Tippecanoe17799130
Johnson14871292
Porter14631167
Hendricks14188247
Madison10851219
Vigo10636178
Clark10520137
Monroe9299110
Delaware9055134
LaPorte8972160
Howard8134142
Kosciusko800382
Warrick665197
Hancock6575103
Bartholomew637999
Floyd6322109
Wayne6076161
Grant5937113
Dubois552578
Boone544967
Morgan530594
Henry503464
Marshall499884
Cass478663
Dearborn470745
Noble468357
Jackson420747
Shelby410781
Lawrence387478
Clinton370642
Gibson365559
DeKalb344264
Montgomery340754
Harrison340544
Knox333139
Miami317344
Steuben311545
Whitley301725
Wabash299747
Adams299035
Ripley296545
Putnam292049
Huntington288659
Jasper287634
White270340
Daviess266073
Jefferson257938
Fayette245148
Decatur244883
Greene238162
Posey236927
Wells233350
LaGrange226361
Scott221838
Clay220932
Randolph212148
Jennings195836
Sullivan190833
Spencer188019
Fountain182127
Washington182022
Starke174443
Jay166322
Owen162837
Fulton162330
Orange156333
Carroll155415
Rush153318
Perry151227
Vermillion147334
Franklin146933
Tipton130932
Parke13018
Pike115626
Blackford110522
Pulaski96137
Newton90521
Brown86833
Benton85910
Crawford7839
Martin72313
Warren6757
Switzerland6455
Union6227
Ohio4787
Unassigned0375