State mask mandate deadline looms for Holcomb as cases, hospitalizations rise

Indiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and rates of new infections continued sharp increases in statistics released Tuesday as the governor faces a deadline on whether to extend the statewide face mask order.

The jumps have come since Gov. Eric Holcomb decided three weeks ago to lift nearly all of Indiana’s restrictions on businesses and crowd sizes, a decision his Democratic election challenger has called on Holcomb to reverse in hopes of slowing the coronavirus spread.

Holcomb told WANE-TV in Fort Wayne that he would announce a decision Wednesday on the mask mandate that he first issued in July. It is currently set to expire Saturday.

Holcomb said one reason for the increased COVID-19 spread is that people are letting down their guard at gatherings such as weddings, sports events or house parties when they are more likely to be around others who are infected but might not be experiencing symptoms.

“We need to underscore the point that our actions and our inactions have consequences, whether they’re good or bad,” he said.

The 1,288 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Indiana as of Monday marked the ninth straight day topping 1,000 after not reaching that high since the end of May, the Indiana State Department of Health reported. Such hospitalizations have grown 70% since Sept. 21. Indiana hospitals had 382 coronavirus patients in their intensive care units—a 50% increase during that time.

State officials added 27 more coronavirus deaths on Tuesday to raise the state’s death toll to 3,822, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus cases. That’s an increase of 111 deaths in the past week.

The health department’s daily update showed Indiana’s seven-day rolling average of new confirmed COVID-19 infections continued growing at record levels, reaching 1,601 as of Monday. That’s a 90% increase from three weeks earlier.

The city of Chicago said travelers arriving from Indiana must stay inside for two weeks, starting Friday.

Democratic governor candidate Woody Myers, a former state health commissioner, said tougher restrictions needed to be reinstated in Indiana. He has also repeatedly called for a more strict mask mandate, as the one Holcomb has issued includes no penalties for violators.

“Gov. Holcomb’s current plan is clearly moving us in the wrong direction,” Myers said.

Holcomb’s mask mandate and earlier executive orders limiting personal travel and businesses have angered some conservatives around the state who maintain they won’t support his reelection and will, instead, vote for Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater, who flatly opposes the mask requirement.

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16 thoughts on “State mask mandate deadline looms for Holcomb as cases, hospitalizations rise

  1. Why can’t people decide for themselves about masks?
    Are we really living in such a nanny state?

    Concerning RFRA; boy has it really changed everyone’s lives, what a burden.

    1. Because individuals often do not think or act with other people’s well being in mind. We live in a society that depends on cooperation and mutual understanding of threats. Some people refuse to acknowledge any threat during this pandemic. Yes, others have overexaggerated the threat as well. But cases are rising again because so many refuse to take the simplest steps to protect themselves and those around them It’s that easy. Where a mask in public. Social distance as much as possible. Live your life.

      RFRA isn’t a burden because it was changed to be constitutional. The original version was not constitutional because it discriminated against protected classes of people. Or did you forget that part?

    1. IBJ regularly uses AP articles. What additional information should they have added to appease your needs?

    2. Hey Joseph – why should I subscribe to the IBJ? To read their lazy re-posts? Does not surfing other sites “appease” your needs?

    3. Can’t tell you what you should do, Tim. You’re the one who made the comment. It’s pretty standard practice for newspapers to use AP articles though. Maybe you weren’t aware of that fact.

  2. How is this a news story? Of course it’s going to be extended. For all the Libs posting their idiocy, can you explain the recent increase in positive cases with a mask order in place now for a couple months?

    1. A Republican governor (far from a “Lib”) implemented the mask requirement and will presumably extend it so maybe you should be careful using the word “idiocy”: You look rather idiotic.

      I’m curious what you think is causing the recent increase in positive cases and why you think eliminating the mask requirement will improve the positivity rate.

    2. Mike, the idiocy I am referring to are the comments about: Trump being divisive, R’s only doing the right thing in a crisis, and my favorite, somehow referencing RAFA in a conversation about masks. I am fine with the mask mandate, and am certain it will be extended, which I said it shouldn’t be a story. I would love to know why positivity rates are up and why testing is down by about 5000 a day. Back to the idiocy, I am downtown while typing and have lost count of the number of people walking in the open air by themselves, wearing a mask.

  3. The one thing that Trump has successfully accomplished is further dividing the public along partisan lines. Public health and safety should not be a political issue, yet some of you are making it one. As Joseph said, wear a mask and social distance and we can actually conquer this together.

  4. It has nothing to do with Trump. Yes, he acted like an idiot with his case, but I find it amazing how this has been partisan from day one. Hard core Libs want to hide in the basement and hardcore R’s are saying to go full send as normal. Opinions moderate as you slide to the middle. Masks and distancing help mitigate and buy time but are not going to “conquer” covid. It will be conquered by modern medicine and probably mitigation of the virus itself.

    1. How do you explain Taiwan, South Korea, and China? They have virtually no new cases. No vaccine, just old school collectivism.

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