Indiana coronavirus update: IN reports record-breaking 8,451 COVID-19 cases, 25 deaths

More Indiana schools move online as COVID-19 spread spikes
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana reported a record-breaking 8,451 new coronavirus cases and 25 related deaths Friday.

The previous record of 6,654 cases was reported Thursday.

The Indiana State Department of Health confirmed a total of 244,887 positive coronavirus cases in the state, including 4,638 deaths.

In the last 24 hours, officials have conducted 68,685 tests, with a seven-day test positivity rate of 10.9%.

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Indiana lawmakers won't be compelled to wear face masks as they meet next week at the Statehouse for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic was first sweeping across the country in March.

The Legislature's organizational meeting set for Tuesday will occur as the state's rates for COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have soared in recent weeks and a statewide mask mandate issued by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has been in effect since July.

The Republicans on a joint House-Senate committee on Thursday voted down a proposal from a Democratic lawmaker for rules enforcing a face mask policy.

Dozens of Indiana school districts are changing in-person learning schedules or sending students home altogether as the state continues to see record increases in new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.

Many schools are having trouble staying open due to the growing number of teachers and students who are sick or on quarantine, Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said during a news conference Wednesday.

While Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has insisted that mask-wearing and social distancing "are proven to work" so schools can remain open for in-person instruction, Box expressed more caution, advising local officials to reconsider schools' operations plans as virus spread spikes.

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Indiana health officials reported 51 more coronavirus-related deaths as the state also saw new record levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations and confirmed coronavirus infections Thursday.

Indianapolis officials announced steps Wednesday including lowering capacity limits for bars and fitness center to 25% in an attempt to slow the virus spread.

All Indianapolis schools must switch to all-virtual instruction by Nov. 30 as many school districts across the state are shifting away from in-person classes.

Indiana hospitals were treating 2,569 COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday -- a 200% increase since Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted nearly all coronavirus-related restrictions in late September.

ABC 7 Chicago contributed to this report.
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