Indiana governor extends virus stay-home order 2 weeks

Indiana’s stay-at-home order was extended Friday for two more weeks as the state’s number of coronavirus-related deaths topped 100 with an anticipated peak of infections still weeks away.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the extension for the order that had been set to expire Tuesday.

Holcomb has repeatedly urged residents to avoid unnecessary trips outside their home and to remain at least 6 feet from those they don’t live with to help stem the spread of the virus.

Dr. Kristina Box, the state’s health commissioner, said people cannot let up on precautions, even as they miss out on spring break trips and Easter gatherings.

“These are not normal times and we cannot act as if they are,” Box said. “I know it’s hard to think about missing a family gathering, but the best thing we can do to protect our loved ones is follow the guidelines.”

State health officials on Friday reported 24 more deaths of people with confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, increasing Indiana’s statewide toll to 102. Another 408 confirmed infections boosted the statewide total to 3,437, the Indiana State Department of Health said.

Those represent only a portion of statewide cases as the limited testing available has been focused on the seriously ill and health care workers. Box estimated as many as 80% of people who have the virus have not been tested because they are not in a hospital.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are among those particularly susceptible to more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.

The best available data shows COVID-19 has a “crude” mortality rate of 2.9% in Indiana, Box said.

Without going into detail, Box said the state is seeing a surge in cases in southeastern Indiana, the Indiana suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky, and in southwestern Indiana.

Dr. Kristen Dauss, chief medical officer of the Indiana Department of Correction, said two inmates have tested positive at the Indiana Women’s Prison in Indianapolis and three at the Plainfield Correctional Facility west of the city.

Some DOC staff also have tested positive, Superintendent Rob Carter said, without specifying how many or where.

In West Lafayette, South Bend and Mishawaka, city crews removed basketball hoops at parks as the weather warmed up. Other communities have taken similar action.

“Going out and shooting baskets by yourself or with somebody in your family is fine. But playing a pickup basketball game with eight other people at the park is not a good idea,” said Dr. Jeremy Adler, Tippecanoe County’s health officer.

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