Coronavirus in Indiana: COVID-19 cases reach 41K with 2,327 deaths days after moving into Phase 4

Budget increases, not cuts for Indiana K-12 public schools
INDIANAPOLIS (WLS) -- Indiana announced 41,746 total COVID-19 cases and 2,327 related deaths Friday.

There have been 392,887 tests conducted, and 10.6% have been positive, according to state health officials. Friday's data showed 389 new COVID-19 cases and 23 new deaths.

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 has 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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Last Friday, the state moved to Phase 4 of its reopening plan, two days 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 on Monday. 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 Monday.

  • 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 Monday 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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