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Indiana Hits Record Level Of New Coronavirus Infections For Third Straight Day

testing site sign

Indiana’s count of new coronavirus cases broke records for the third day in a row Saturday. (WFIU/WTIU News)

Indiana’s count of new coronavirus cases broke records for the third day in a row Saturday, as the state said 1,945 new Hoosiers had tested positive.

That brings the total number of Indiana residents known to have had the coronavirus to 133,411 as the state’s seven-day rolling average of new cases of the respiratory disease continues growing at record levels.

The Indiana State Department of Health also announced 21 new deaths, bringing the state’s death toll to 3,555, including both confirmed and presumed coronavirus infections.

Health officials are now urging people to double down on protective measures.

Western Indiana’s Vigo County Health Department issued a warning Friday discouraging large gatherings, noting that the county’s current COVID-19 cases are mostly linked to a recent apple festival and other outdoor events with a large attendance. In Elkhart County, where both of the area’s local hospitals are full, the local health department said on its Facebook page that “a major disturbing increase” in the number of coronavirus cases calls for renewed vigilance around mask-wearing and physical distancing.

READ MORE: Amid Surging COVID-19 Cases, Holcomb Comfortable Staying Re-Opened

The higher infection numbers come two weeks after Holcomb decided to lift most statewide precaution rules while keeping a face mask mandate in place.

Asked Friday during a luncheon in South Bend whether he’s still comfortable with the decision, Gov. Eric Holcomb said “I am right now.”

“But I don’t make long-term predictions based on a virus that’s uber infectious and easy to spread. I’m pleading and begging and asking Hoosiers all over the state to do what works,” he continued. “We take it day by day and week by week. There are a lot of factors that go into what we do. It’s the balance of our lives and our livelihoods.”

The governor further encouraged Hoosiers to wear masks and practice physical distancing, emphasizing that those practices “will draw these numbers down.”

Still, Democratic state lawmakers are calling on the governor to do more.

“Indiana is now turning into a perfect example of what not to do to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane said in statement Friday. “Governor, I plead with you to stop this foolish reopening, enforce your mask mandate and get aid to the folks who need it most right now. It’s time to stop playing politics with people’s lives.”

Indiana House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta added that “this is not the time” to loosen COVID-19 restrictions. Doing so, he said, sends a false message to Hoosiers “that it is okay to let our guards down.”

“What we’re about to see is a perfect storm for the coronavirus to take over this state,” GiaQuinta said in statement Friday. “I don’t want to see that happen and I urge Gov. Holcomb to take the reins on this growing issue before it’s too late.”

Democratic governor candidate Woody Myers said he wants to see Holcomb return Indiana to an earlier stage of the state’s reopening plan. There should also be new guidance issued for schools, more enforcement on mask-wearing and no-excuse absentee voting on Election Day, he said.

“I am now calling on the governor to take action to save Hoosier lives,” Myers said. “Gov. Holcomb’s current plan is clearly moving us in the wrong direction.”

READ MORE: Record-Breaking Week For New COVID-19 Cases In Indiana

The number of people in Indiana hospitals with COVID-19 also continues to rise. New data indicates 1,180 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

On Friday, the number reached 1,187, which was the most recorded since May 22. Of those, 357 were in intensive care, the highest count since Aug. 4.

Statewide, Saturday’s numbers showed that 15.2% of the state's 2,232 existing ICU beds were being used by patients with COVID-19-related illnesses, while 32.3% were still available.

And as of noon Saturday, 4.0% of the state's 2,890 total ventilators were being used by COVID-19 patients, while 78.4% were still available.

While the latest numbers reflect new highs in positive cases and hospitalizations in Indiana, more people in the state are being tested for COVID-19 than earlier in the pandemic.

In Monroe County, the total number of COVID-19 cases rose by 40 to 2,960, and the county death toll remained the same at 37, the department said.

Some 48,542 Monroe County residents have been tested, it said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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