Indiana drops COVID-19 restrictions, keeps mask order in Holcomb coronavirus update; state reports 920 new cases, 17 deaths

State moves into Back on Track Indiana Stage 5; COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, crowd sizes dropped
INDIANAPOLIS (WLS) -- Indiana health officials reported 920 new COVID-19 cases and 17 additional deaths Thursday.

The Indiana State Department of Health confirmed a total of 114,236 positive coronavirus cases in the state, including 3,322 deaths Thursday. There have been 1,937,499 tests conducted, with a 5.9% cumulative positivity rate.

Indiana's statewide mask order will continue for another three weeks under a new order the Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday.

The announcement came even as Holcomb has faced public discontent over coronavirus restrictions amid his reelection campaign.

Holcomb said Wednesday he would be dropping most other limits on businesses and crowd sizes as of Saturday.

The mask order will be extended until Oct. 17.

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Holcomb said those restrictions could be removed because the state has seen progress in recent weeks in slowing the coronavirus spread.

His action lifts statewide capacity limits for restaurants and bars and crowd limits for social events.

Some longtime reliable Republican voters complain Holcomb's coronavirus orders have been "overbearing" and say they intend to support Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater. Holcomb defends the mask order has helping keep the coronavirus spread in check. Libertarians say they've been inundated with support recently, while Holcomb's campaign says the governor will keep following the advice of medical experts. Democratic candidate Dr. Woody Myers has called for tougher enforcement of the mask order.

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush says she's still dealing with her COVID-19 illness as she joined the first state Supreme Court arguments held since she tested positive for the coronavirus infection 11 days ago. Rush and the four other justices all joined online as they heard arguments from attorneys in three cases Thursday morning. She said as the first hearing started that she's been working through challenging conditions from COVID-19. The court said Rush learned Sept. 13 that she had tested positive for the virus and has been working from home.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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