INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.
Statewide mask requirement
Effective Monday, July 27, Governor Eric Holcomb will order a statewide mask requirement. The factors used to make the decision included:
- Getting children back in school and businesses open
- Increase in COVID-19 positivity rate
- Increase in number of Hoosiers hospitalized for COVID-19
- Additional counties seeing more cases
- Increase in cases and positivity rate in neighboring states
The mandate will be for anyone 8 years and older in indoor public spaces, commercial entities or transportation services, or in outside public spaces when you cannot social distance.
"This is about slowing the spread," Gov. Holcomb said. He went on to say that those that do not believe in the science will see the effect of the requirement.
The governor said there will not be law enforcement specifically out to enforce the requirement. However, if someone is cited, it is a Class B Misdemeanor. According to state code (IC 35-50-3-3Class B misdemeanor), a Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. That said, the governor is hoping that it does not come to issuing citations and that Hoosiers will take the requirement seriously.
Masks in school
Mask use in schools is required for grades 3 and up, faculty and staff, volunteers and anyone else in schools. Masks will also be required for all students riding a bus. Masks are also required for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, with exceptions for strenuous physical activity.
The state recommends schools should use the following to minimize the spread and exposure:
- Space desks as far as possible facing in the same direction
- Cohort younger students into pods
- Hand washing and disinfecting
- Plan schedules so that a minimum number of students are close contacts
- Do not conduct birthday parties or other events that put students in close contact
- Isolate and send home any person who develops symptoms
When a student or adult in school tests positive, the following actions will take place:
- In a classroom, identify who spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of the person for the 48 hours prior to symptoms or a positive test (for an asymptomatic person).
- Close contacts will be asked to quarantine at home for 14 days and will be monitored and guided by the local health department and the state's centralized contact tracing center.
- If any close contacts test positive, the process begins again
- If cohorting and assigned seating has not been been possible, such as for pre-kindergarten through second grade, an entire classroom may need to be quarantined.
A pod will be closed after one confirmed case and a classroom closed after two confirmed cases.
Schools will be allowed to determine for themselves how and when to do in school or virtual learning.
Exceptions to mask requirement
Exceptions will be made for medical purposes, strenuous physical activity, eating and drinking. Masks will be strongly recommended for those ages 2-7.
Long-term care deaths
The state reports that in reporting long-term care facilities in Indiana, there have been 5,867 confirmed cases among residents and 1,390 deaths. Among staff, 2,521 cases were reported and 12 deaths. About 83 percent of long-term care facilities have reported data.
ISDH daily update
The state is reporting 763 more cases of coronavirus and 14 more deaths. That puts Indiana at 58,673 total confirmed cases and 2,666 deaths. Those deaths date back to June 19.
Nine percent of Hoosiers tested for the virus have gotten a positive result.
The number of people hospitalized by the virus increased over the previous day from 803 to 869.
COVID-19 patients account for 13.5 percent of the states ICU bed, with 36.6 percent of ICU beds still available. Almost 3 percent of the state's ventilators are being used by COVID-19 patients, with more than 82 percent of them still available.
500 Festival events canceled
The 500 Festival announced it has canceled the remaining in-person events for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The following events have been canceled:
- 500 Festival Kickoff to May, presented by STAR Bank
- Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and Rookie Run
- 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc.
- 500 Festival Volunteer Appreciation Day, presented by Citizens Energy Group
- 500 Festival Memorial Service, presented by Rolls-Royce
- IPL 500 Festival Parade
- 500 Festival mini-mini
This is the first time in 500 Festival history that the organization’s traditional schedule of events will not take place during the days leading up to the Indy 500.
Kroger mask mandate begins Wednesday
Kroger will begin requiring all customers to wear face masks in their stores beginning July 22.
"With the increase in #COVID19 cases across the country, we are committed to doing our part to help reduce the spread of the virus," Kroger wrote on Twitter.
The mask requirement will include all customers in all stores across the U.S. Small children are exempt from the mask requirement.
Customers who are unable to wear face masks due to medical reasons are being encouraged to consider an alternative option like a face shield or facial covering.
Kroger says if some customers are unable to wear a mask or an alternative design, they request that they use e-commerce services like pickup or delivery. To support all households during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroger's grocery pickup service remains free.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been 3.9 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 142,000 deaths and 1.18 million people recovered.
Worldwide, there have been 14.95 million confirmed cases with more than 616,000 deaths and 8.46 million recovered.
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.
Goodwill requiring masks
Starting Wednesday, July 22, Goodwill will require shoppers to wear masks while in the stores.
Other steps being taken include:
- Social distancing encouraged
- Sneeze guards installed at cash registers
- Contact-free donation drop-off process in place
- Increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing the store
- Closed fitting rooms and other high-touch areas
You can also shop the local online store at ShopGoodwill.com/Indianapolis.