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Indiana coronavirus updates for Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Coronavirus updates from Wednesday, July 15.

INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

State leaders response update 

Gov. Holcomb and state leaders provided an update on the response to COVID-19 as Indiana reports 700 new cases in one day. The state is keeping an eye on the positivity rate with testing. The 7-day average as of June 18 was 4.2 percent. By July 4 it was 6.3 percent and as of July 11 it was up to 7.1 percent.

The governor announced Indiana will stay in Stage 4.5 for at least the next couple of weeks.

Of the 51,434 positive cases examined in Indiana, 12,449 visited an emergency room and 7,633 were then hospitalized. 

Of those hospitalized:

  • 74 percent have been discharged
  • 7 percent still likely hospitalized
  • 19 percent died

Gatherings and events with more than 250 attendees must develop and submit to the local health department a written plan outlining the steps being taken to mitigate against COVID-19. This also applies to seasonal events like fairs, family reunions or outdoor concerts.

The plan must address:

  • Capacity limits
  • Guest information
  • Staff and volunteer screening
  • Social distancing measures
  • Increased sanitation
  • Face coverings
  • Compliance

More than 11,000 Hoosiers applied for the rental assistance program in the first 48 hours after it opened on July 13. You can apply online here if your income has been affected by the pandemic.

As far as mandatory masks, the governor said at this time he is leaving that up to local and county leaders.

The state is also still working on collecting nursing homes cases and death information. About 70 percent of long-term care centers had reported that information by the deadline and now the state is working to collect the rest of the information.

ISDH gives latest report on COVID-19 numbers in state

Indiana State Department of Health reports that there are 700 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, totaling more than 53,000 in the state. Ten more Hoosiers have died from the virus. That death toll in Indiana from coronavirus is 2,592. 

Nearly 600,000 Hoosiers have been tested for the virus. 

Anderson School Board votes to reopen schools virtually 

Anderson Community Schools is the latest district to move the start of school to a virtual format. 

In a meeting Tuesday night, the board voted unanimously to begin classes on Aug. 5 in a virtual only format. The board will reconsider possibly returning to in person instruction around Sept. 9.

In a poll of parents and staff, nearly 61 percent of the 4,000 people that responded said they would prefer an online return to school.

Walmart, Sam's Club to require masks in stores 

Walmart and Sam's Club have announced that customers will soon be required to wear masks or face coverings when entering any of their stores. 

The new requirement will take effect Monday, July 20 across the U.S, Walmart COO Dacona Smith and Sam's Club COO Lance de la Rosa said in a joint statement. 

The companies noted that currently about 65% of their locations are in areas where there is some form of local mandate on face coverings, so this new requirement is meant to "help bring consistency across stores and clubs." 

"While we’re certainly not the first business to require face coverings, we know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities," Smith and de la Rosa said. 

The announcement comes one day after Minnesota-based Best Buy said it would start requiring shoppers where face masks in all its stores. Last week, Starbucks said it will require face coverings or masks in all 9,000 of its company-owned US stores. 

Indy DPW extending closures of several downtown streets for outdoor dining through Labor Day

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works has announced segments of Broad Ripple Avenue, Georgia Street and Massachusetts Avenue will remain closed through Labor Day.

The streets were first closed in May to allow restaurants to extend outdoor seating and bring in more revenue. 

Each segment was scheduled to reopen Monday, July 20 but will be closed through Monday, Sept. 7.

All three closures will continue in their current conditions, but Indy DPW is currently reviewing how to make additional parking available to the Mass Ave area.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been 3.43 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 3:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 136,000 deaths and 1.04 million people recovered.

Worldwide, there have been 13.32 million confirmed cases with more than 578,000 deaths and 7.39 million recovered.

RELATED: See where confirmed Indiana coronavirus cases are with this interactive map

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Previously extended tax deadline ends Wednesday

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold this spring, the federal government postponed the traditional April 15 filing deadline until July 15.

The move provided some economic and logistic relief for taxpayers dealing with the disruptions and uncertainty brought on by lockdowns, school closures and shuttered businesses. But now that new deadline is rapidly approaching.

RELATED: No more delays: What to know about the July 15 tax deadline

Taxpayers must file or seek an extension by the new deadline or face a penalty. The IRS is expecting about 150 million returns from individuals and as of the last count, it had received almost 139 million.

Starbucks mask mandate inside all locations begins Wednesday

Starting July 15, Starbucks will require customers to wear face coverings at all of its 9,000 company-owned locations in the U.S. 

The company explained in a blog post Thursday that it is working to prioritize "the health and well-being" of both employees and customers. 

The company said customers not wearing a face mask will be able to pick up orders at the drive-thru, via curbside pick-up or by placing an order for delivery through Starbucks Delivers.

Employees have already been required to wear face coverings since mid-March.

Best Buy to require customers to wear face mask in stores beginning Wednesday

Best Buy announced customers will be required to wear masks or face coverings when entering any stores.

According to a news release from the company, the new requirement will take effect Wednesday, July 15 across the U.S. Small children and anyone who is unable to wear a face covering for health reasons will be exempt.

Best Buy said it will provide a face covering for any customer who doesn't have one and will continue to offer online shopping for any customer who has a concern about wearing a mask.

Northwestern Indiana beach to be shut down beginning Wednesday due to virus fears

A beach along Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana will be shut down as part of efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

The Northwest Indiana Times reports that Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura said that starting Wednesday, Whihala Beach will be closed until further notice. 

Stahura said large crowds at the beach have been unable to consistently follow social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Whiting Lakefront Park also will be closed to vehicular traffic starting Wednesday. Bike and walking trails will remain open for pedestrian use. 

The Indiana State Department of Health said Monday that 452 additional virus cases have been confirmed, bringing the state’s total to more than 52,000.