Indiana coronavirus: IN reports 1,569 positive COVID-19 tests, 27 deaths

Indiana sees most coronavirus hospitalizations since May
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana reported 1,569 new COVID-19 cases and 27 deaths Tuesday.

The Indiana State Department of Health confirmed a total of 138,104 positive coronavirus cases in the state, including 3,595 deaths.

In the last 24 hours, officials have conducted 19,048 tests, with a seven-day positivity rate of 5.3%.

This comes as state health officials report the number of coronavirus patients in Indiana hospitals grew over the weekend to the highest level in nearly five months.

The 1,238 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Sunday marked the eighth straight day topping 1,000 after not reaching that high since the end of May.

Hospitalizations have increased nearly 65% since Sept. 19, just before Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb decided to lift nearly all of Indiana's restrictions on businesses and crowd sizes. Six additional deaths were added Monday to the state's toll, raising it to 3,795, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus cases.

That's more 114 deaths in the past week.

Holcomb's administration said it is holding off on releasing a report with recommendations on teacher salaries until after the Nov. 3 election. The Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission was selected in February 2019 to examine long-term solutions for increasing educator pay.

Before the pandemic, a 60-page draft report had been expected this summer. Chairman Michael Smith told The Journal Gazette that it wouldn't be fair to release the report that consists of more than 40 suggestions because of the state's fragile economic predicament.

Indiana State Teachers Association President Keith Gambill says educators face overwhelming pressure and the state needs to find the funds to adequately compensate them.

Holcomb says he's still comfortable lifting COVID-19 restrictions in Indiana after health officials reported a record-high day of new infections in the state. State health officials on Friday reported that 1,832 more Indiana residents have tested positive for COVID-19. That record was again broken the next day, with 1,945 cases.

It comes as the state's seven-day rolling average of new coronavirus cases continues to surge.

The higher infection numbers come after Holcomb's decision last month to lift most statewide precaution rules while keeping a face mask mandate in place.

An entire student group at the University of Southern Indiana has been quarantined after having close contact with a member who tested positive for COVID-19.

School officials say they won't release the student group's name because of confidentiality concerns. The incident is the second time an entire student group at the Evansville campus has been placed in quarantine due to concerns about exposure to the coronavirus.

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The Evansville Courier & Press reports the first incident occurred last month after "several" COVID-19 cases were discovered in a group. Since March, 170 students and 18 university employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Nearly two months after state officials said they would release a public dashboard to help track coronavirus cases among Indiana's students and teachers, the online tool lacks data from more than 1,000 schools.

Unveiled last week, the new dashboard reflects the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases among those in a given school. But so far, 40% of schools in the state still have not submitted information to the database.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said during a news conference Wednesday that "technical issues" are part to blame for the lag in reporting. Health department officials are additionally working to remove duplicate data entries, which takes time, Box said.

Some business leaders say Indiana manufacturers have generally weathered the coronavirus pandemic better than other industries, even as some plants have been battered by changes in consumer spending amid the public health crisis.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that because the companies that make up Indiana's key manufacturing industry are designated as essential businesses, most have remained in operation, even as stay-at-home orders forced other industries to pause operations.

Last year, manufacturers accounted for 26.9% of Indiana's cross domestic product and more than 16% of the state's workforce.

Brian Burton, president and CEO of the Indiana Manufacturers Association, says the industry is doing well "compared with other sectors."

ABC 7 Chicago contributed to this report.
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