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Holcomb Doesn’t Reimpose Statewide Restrictions Amid COVID-19 Surge

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health
Gov. Eric Holcomb isn't reimposing a mask wearing mandate in state government buildings, despite new CDC recommendations. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Gov. Eric Holcomb opted not to reimpose any COVID-19 restrictions Thursday as he extended the state’s public health emergency for another month.

Indiana, like the rest of the country, is in the midst of a surge in cases due to the delta variant of the novel coronavirus – which accounts for more than 90 percent of sampled cases this month. The average number of new cases is the highest it’s been since early May.

June’s daily average of new cases was about 283 per day, July’s average is up to 538.7 new cases per day – an 89 percent increase in just about a month. The state surpassed 1,000 cases for the first time in months this week.

But the only executive actions Holcomb continued include temporary licensing of retired and out-of-state health care workers; suspension of payment requirements for Medicaid and the Healthy Indiana Plan; an expanded list of people who can provide COVID-19 vaccinations, including Emergency Medical Technicians and trained National Guardsmen; and waiving any penalties or interest on state taxes owed on unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

This comes on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday reversing course on its mask guidance, once again suggesting all individuals wear masks indoors in areas where COVID-19 cases are surging.

READ MORE: How Is Indiana Distributing COVID-19 Vaccines? Here’s What You Need To Know

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Of Indiana’s 92 counties, 32 are qualified by the CDC as high community transmission and an additional 34 as substantial. The CDC recommends unvaccinated and fully vaccinated residents living in counties of both categories wear masks indoors.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.