Coronavirus Indiana: COVID-19 cases near 43K with 2,377 deaths after moving into Phase 4

Indiana offers public schools $61M in remote learning grants
INDIANAPOLIS (WLS) -- Indiana announced 42,871 total COVID-19 cases and 2,377 related deaths Sunday.

The Indiana State Department of Health says 238 more Indiana residents have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. It brings the state's confirmed total to 42,871.

The health department also said that 14 more deaths due to complications from the virus have been reported, bringing the state's total to 2,377.

Gov. Eric Holcomb says Indiana's public schools can apply for funding to improve their remote learning capabilities during the coronavirus pandemic through a $61.6 million grant program.

Holcombs announced Monday that the deadline is July 17 to apply for the needs-based, competitive funding through the Governor's Emergency Education Relief, which is financed by the federal CARES Act.

Traditional public school corporations, public charter schools, accredited non-public schools, higher education institutions and other education-related entities are eligible to apply for the grants. The state expects to award dozens of grants through the program.

Indiana doctors have also been providing remote care to patients since clinics have closed and government mandated orders have kept people at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The health system is starting to look much different as facilities shift to telemedicine, which allows doctors to meet with patients through video conferencing, reported the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Some doctors say it can speed up diagnosis and treatment. IU Health, the state's largest hospital system, said its doctors have conducted about 80,000 telemedicine visits this year.

Four Indiana groups have been awarded a combined $141,000 from a federal agency to help individuals and families avoid foreclosure and make better home-buying and rental choices.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says the grants will directly support the housing counseling services provided by the HUD-approved groups, including helping people assess their readiness for a home purchase and navigating the home-buying process.

HUD-approved housing counseling agencies also help people find affordable rental housing. HUD Midwest Regional Administrator Joseph P. Galvan says the grants will "ensure that homeowners and renters alike can receive assistance from HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and make smart housing choices."

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state's K-12 public schools won't face funding cuts for the 2020-21 school year. Instead, the governor announced Wednesday that the state will move forward with the current budget, which includes a $183 million increase for K-12 spending for schools. This increase will be awarded, regardless of whether students are attending class in-person or online due to restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Public universities and state agencies still face significant budget cuts for the fiscal year starting July 1.

And a northern Indiana health department is requiring everyone to wear a mask or face covering over the mouth and nose following a steep increase of cases since Memorial Day.

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Dr. Jen Ashton joined ABC 7 Chicago Thursday to discuss COVID-19 updates.

The LaGrange County Health Department says the county has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 illnesses, and the best defense is hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks.

LaGrange County's cases have spiked, with 215 new cases since Memorial Day. In all, the number almost quadrupled in 21 days. The Journal Gazette reports LaGrange is one of the few counties in Indiana to mandate the wearing of face coverings.

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The state moved to Phase 4 of its reopening plan last week, ahead of schedule.

Many businesses were caught off guard with Indiana starting stage 4 early, especially in Lake County which has been a week behind most of the state in the governor's reopening plan.

Holcomb defended his decision to move the state into the next stage with COVID-19 still spreading.

In Stage 4 office buildings, retail stores and malls are allowed open at full capacity. Restaurants can have up to 75 percent capacity in their dining rooms. Bars, nightclubs, Bowling alleys, Movie theaters, Amusement parks can open at 50 percent capacity.

Casinos were also allowed to reopen at reduced capacity. Horseshoe Hammond Casino will implement new health and safety protocols.

RELATED: Indiana Reopening: Casinos welcome back gamblers with new safety measures
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Most casinos in Indiana reopened Monday morning with new safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Social distancing guidelines are still in place, and face coverings are still recommended.

We've compiled the need-to-know information and resources to keep you and your family informed and safe. You can find all of ABC7's latest reporting on the COVID-19 outbreak here.

Here's what the next phase means for Indiana:

  • Crowds of 250 or less

  • State government buildings will no longer have access restrictions.

  • Professional office building employees may resume work at full capacity.

  • Retail stores and malls may open at full capacity with social distancing rules.

  • Restaurant dining room service may increase to 75% capacity.

  • Bar seating in restaurants may open at 50% capacity.

  • Bars and nightclubs may open at 50% capacity with social distancing rules.

  • Cultural, entertainment and tourism businesses such as museums, zoos, bowling alleys and aquariums may open at 50% capacity.

  • Large venues may reopen with social distancing rules.

  • Amusement parks, water parks and similar facilities may open at 50% capacity with required reservations to limit customers.

  • Movie theaters may open at 50% capacity.

  • Horse racing may begin this weekend with no spectators.

  • Casinos may reopen.

  • Playgrounds may reopen, though the state health commissioner recommended that parents take extra caution with their children after playing.

  • Outdoor visitation may take place at assisted living facilities and nursing homes; hospital visitations are encouraged with precautions.

  • Community recreational non-contact sports practices, games and tournaments may resume. Contact sports, such as football, basketball, rugby or wrestling, can conduct conditioning and non-contact drills. Contact sports may resume games or tournaments beginning June 19. Before any games or tournaments, the host must make publicly available a COVID-19 response plan outlining the steps being taken to ensure social distancing, increased sanitation and overall protection of competitors, coaches, staff and spectators.

  • Raceways may open at 50% grandstand capacity

  • Pari-mutuel horse racing may begin with no spectators at Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand facilities. Charity gaming and casinos may open with the approval of the Indiana Gaming Commission.

  • Conventions, fairs, festivals, parades and similar events remain closed.

  • RELATED: Here's where to find coronavirus testing in Northwest Indiana

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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