Indiana sets record with more than 5K new COVID-19 cases; New county requirements announced

Indiana sets record with more than 5K new COVID-19 cases; New county requirements announced
Indiana’s seven-day positive rate is 10.3%, according to the state health department. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

INDIANAPOLIS (FOX19) - Indiana’s reopening plan is being scaled back and new requirements are coming as Indiana reports its highest number of new COVID-19 cases.

5,156 more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Wednesday by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). The number of new cases Wednesday surpasses the previous high of 4,951 on Nov. 6.

Overall, a total of 224,374 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed since March 6.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said stage five of the Back on Track plan will end this weekend due to the record number of new cases and Indiana’s seven-day positive rate now at 10.3%.

Taking the plan’s place is a new executive order for pandemic response requirements, which will go into effect Nov. 15, the governor announced.

The new order is for counties in the orange or red levels of Indiana’s COVID-19 alert map. Every county in the state is now in the orange or red level, Holcomb said Wednesday.

The basics of Indiana’s COVID-19 response have not changed. Face coverings are still required, and customers will still need to be spaced out by six feet at bars and restaurants.

Capacity limits on social gatherings are the main change under the new executive order.

Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley, and Switzerland counties are all in the orange levels as of Wednesday.

Counties in the orange level must follow these requirements, Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box announced:

  • Social gatherings, inside or outside, are limited to 50 people.
  • Special, seasonal or commercial events planned for more than 50 people require the approval of a safety plan by the local health department.
  • Attendance at winter indoor K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular events is limited to 25% capacity.
  • Capacity in common areas and break rooms should be reduced and users should be socially distanced.
  • Community rec sports leagues and tournaments can continue with attendance limited to participants, required personnel and parents, or guardians only.

Union County is in the red level, according to the ISDH’s map.

Counties in the red level must follow these requirements outlined by Dr. Box:

  • All social gatherings are limited to 25 people.
  • Special, seasonal or commercial events planned for more than 25 people require the approval of a safety plan by the local health department. College and professional sports are included.
    • Events are not advised to be held.
  • Attendance at winter indoor K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular events, including IHSAA sports, is limited to participants, support personnel and parents, or guardians.
  • Local officials can consider limiting hours for the operation of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.
  • Community recreational sports leagues and tournaments may continue with participants, required personnel, and parents or guardians only.
  • Common areas and break rooms should be closed.
  • Senior care activities are suspended.
  • Hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other congregate settings can impose visitation limits.

Churches are exempt from these requirements, the governor said.

Hoosiers 80 years old and older represent 5.5% of Indiana’s total COVID-19 cases but have the highest percentage of the state’s deaths at 51.8%.

The ISDH announced 31 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday to bring the overall death toll to 4,512.

Hospitalizations are at an all-time high, the governor said as he announced 2,544 people are now in the hospital.

Indiana is averaging more than 210 new hospitalizations a day, he explained.

Guidance for Thanksgiving and the holiday season will be announced next week, Gov. Holcomb said.

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