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: 1686048

Reported Deaths: 28081
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook63820111231
DuPage1089831384
Will918501131
Lake805551091
Kane68798876
Winnebago41428561
Madison40281602
St. Clair36406601
McHenry35007334
Champaign27150197
Peoria27055370
Sangamon25898287
McLean23165220
Tazewell20730333
Rock Island18969364
Kankakee18011250
Kendall16338114
Macon15382252
LaSalle15106287
Vermilion14519201
Adams13215153
DeKalb12238134
Williamson12112176
Whiteside8338184
Jackson812295
Boone798183
Coles7956127
Ogle762490
Grundy742886
Franklin7361115
Knox7352169
Clinton7143102
Macoupin7010107
Marion6960144
Effingham6674100
Henry666577
Jefferson6590143
Livingston600798
Stephenson591394
Woodford580692
Randolph5571101
Christian537782
Fulton529777
Monroe5274103
Morgan5103100
Logan496975
Montgomery494183
Lee480662
Bureau445491
Saline437369
Perry435075
Fayette433664
Iroquois424677
McDonough377661
Shelby351349
Jersey338253
Lawrence336333
Crawford334430
Douglas329237
Union308248
Wayne306863
White281233
Richland280757
Hancock274835
Clark267240
Cass266831
Pike266058
Edgar261049
Clay260454
Bond258025
Ford246959
Warren245366
Moultrie238333
Carroll237438
Johnson231432
Wabash217819
Massac217751
Jo Daviess217429
Mason214553
Washington213428
De Witt207530
Greene205840
Mercer205636
Piatt203614
Cumberland190526
Menard172813
Jasper161821
Marshall141921
Hamilton134522
Schuyler109510
Brown107110
Pulaski104912
Edwards104218
Stark81928
Gallatin7959
Alexander74112
Scott7146
Henderson71214
Calhoun6942
Hardin61516
Putnam5684
Pope5586
Unassigned1152433
Out of IL140

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Cases: 1011197

Reported Deaths: 16524
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1359292129
Lake666181167
Allen58254802
Hamilton46498467
St. Joseph44559617
Elkhart36044510
Vanderburgh32333481
Tippecanoe28037260
Johnson25196446
Hendricks23960360
Porter22985367
Madison18820410
Clark18609253
Vigo17530303
Monroe15319200
LaPorte15230252
Delaware15127264
Howard14801290
Kosciusko12410149
Hancock11773176
Bartholomew11695180
Warrick11305189
Floyd11138215
Wayne11023253
Grant10131220
Morgan9506177
Boone8965116
Dubois8281131
Henry8252153
Dearborn823493
Noble8064106
Marshall7981135
Cass7556123
Lawrence7479172
Shelby7216119
Jackson700990
Gibson6614115
Harrison651892
Huntington6447100
Knox6427106
DeKalb6363100
Montgomery6293112
Miami595298
Putnam584179
Clinton579271
Whitley568455
Steuben566876
Wabash5363104
Jasper536180
Jefferson513297
Ripley501987
Adams483777
Daviess4684115
Scott439875
Greene427296
Clay426960
Wells426088
White420964
Decatur4177104
Fayette407387
Jennings390262
Posey377544
LaGrange361778
Washington360451
Randolph3476100
Spencer340743
Fountain336160
Sullivan330852
Starke319171
Owen315571
Fulton313468
Orange295064
Jay285546
Franklin266443
Perry265752
Rush263832
Carroll262434
Vermillion259854
Parke232029
Pike229643
Tipton229059
Blackford195042
Pulaski184657
Crawford160125
Newton159848
Benton151217
Brown147047
Martin139319
Switzerland135311
Warren121416
Union107216
Ohio84613
Unassigned0544