By Erick Johnson
Five people in Gary have died from COVID-19 and 174 have been infected with the virus, Mayor Jerome Prince announced Tuesday, April 13 at his daily briefing on the health crisis.
In Indiana, 8,236 residents have tested positive for the virus and 44,539 have been tested.
The announcement came as Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and state officials warn that a surge in cases is still coming. They urge residents to stick to practicing social distancing as testing continues throughout Indiana.
Holcomb said he will make “tweaks” to the state’s stay-at-home order as needed. The order is currently set to run through April 20.
Holcomb said Indiana is still in this first quarter, or the “mitigation phase.” He said the second quarter involves contact tracing. The third quarter will be getting people back into the workforce he explained, and the fourth quarter will consist of finding a new normal.
At his press briefing in Gary, Prince said he was tested April 8.
“I recently received my results, and I tested negative for the virus,” Prince said. “I felt no symptoms, but, as you can imagine, I was nervous leading up to getting the result. I was relieved, but, I also know a number of people who tested positive and who are suffering from a wide range of symptoms.”
There were concerns that some churches in Gary were not complying with the governor’s stay-at-home order.
At his press briefing on YouTube, Prince said “Our churches appeared to be compliant with the Stay Home order. We did not see any churches holding service in their buildings. Observing social distancing practices will keep more of us safer. However, we will monitor the number of new infections as this week goes on.”
“We will be taking steps to secure parks, playground equipment, shelters and pavilions and basketball courts. These are places where people tend to gather in groups of more than 10.”
Prince also said, “I thank each healthcare worker and first-responder who continues to report to work in these difficult times. You put your health and lives on the line to help us all, and we thank you and we appreciate you.
“We are all monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout our city, our county and our state. I will continue to provide you the most accurate information available and in a timely manner.
In response to President Donald Trump’s authority to “reopen” Indiana and the rest of the country, Holcomb said, “We want to remain not just in line with our state authority, but understanding the balance between federalism and state’s rights. I think the president has Hoosiers’ best interests in mind. We’ll continue to work with the president and his team.”