Indiana coronavirus: 95 new IN testing sites planned as state reports 764 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths

Indiana health officials reported 764 new COVID-19 cases and 13 additional deaths Thursday as the state neared 1.6 million total tests administered.

The Indiana State Department of Health confirmed a total of 102,243 positive coronavirus cases in the state, including 3,186 deaths. There have been 1,584,532 tests conducted, with an 8.8% cumulative seven-day positivity rate.

Nearly 100 additional coronavirus testing sites are planned across Indiana by the end of this month. State officials announced Wednesday that $30 million over the next two years from federal coronavirus funding will go to 76 county health departments for the new testing sites. About three dozen sites will be open by the end of this week, with a total of 95 scheduled to be in operation by Oct. 1. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said the new sites should be conducting 100 to 200 free tests a day.

A northern Indiana prison has been placed on lockdown after weekend testing found nearly 60 inmates and several prison workers were positive for COVID-19. The Miami Correctional Facility's spokesman, James Frye, said Wednesday that a team from the Indiana State Department of Health did rapid testing at the prison over the weekend. Before that testing, two inmates and five staffers had tested positive for COVID-19. But the Kokomo Tribune reports that by Wednesday, testing found 60 offenders and 10 staff members were positive for COVID-19. National Guard units began helping operate the prison in August, after several prison workers were stricken with COVID-19.

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Indiana lawmakers are preparing to move much of their 2021 legislative session activity out of the Statehouse over coronavirus concerns. A joint House-Senate committee on Wednesday endorsed a plan aimed at allowing the 100-member House hold its floor sessions and committee meetings in the auditorium and conference rooms in a state office building next to the Statehouse. The 50-member state Senate is planning to keep meeting in its Statehouse chamber but will convert its public gallery into seating for senators in order to allow sufficient distancing when the legislative session starts in January.

Several dozen Indiana high school athletic programs are turning to pay-per-view broadcasts of their football games and other fundraising efforts to help make up revenue they've lost due to a drop in fan attendance amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to the South Bend Tribune, Northern Indiana's Mishawaka High School is charging fans $9.99 to view broadcasts of its football games. The school is receiving 60% of the revenue from each purchase. The broadcasts, run by Mishawaka students and faculty, had been free to watch for the past three years. The football broadcasts are streamed on the IHSAA Champions Network.

Indiana University has halted all voluntary workouts indefinitely for its men's basketball, field hockey, men's soccer and wrestling teams after 14 participants tested positive for the coronavirus this week. The Hoosiers did not identify which teams recorded the positive tests. The football team, like other Big Ten programs, is not playing this fall. Indiana said 63 positives have been reported from more than 1,400 tests of athletes, coaches and staff since June 8.

The Indianapolis Colts will allow a maximum of 2,500 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team's home opener Sept. 20 against the Minnesota Vikings. That number was determined following discussions with the Marion County Public Health Department and set to meet local, NFL and CDC guidelines to help limit the spread of COVID-19. But the Colts will not operate their Touchdown Town outside the stadium until further notice. Colts staff will meet with local health officials as early as next week to discuss capacity for future games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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