The Crusader Newspaper Group

51 dead in Gary from COVID-19, 729 infected

A Crusader Staff Report

About 729 people in Gary have been infected with COVID-19 and 51 have died from the disease, according to the latest data from the mayor’s office and the city’s health department.

COVID 19 LAKE COUNTY INDIANA e1592493767494The data comes as Gary Mayor Jerome Prince continues to ease restrictions after the state entered Phase 4 of Governor Holcomb’s plan on June 12.

Under Phase 4, movie theaters, bars, museums and amusement parks across the state opened June 12 after the governor announced that he was moving up by two days the next stage of easing the state’s coronavirus restrictions.

A new state order allows social gatherings of up to 250 people and retail stores and malls to operate at full capacity.

“I’m grateful to Hoosiers who have helped maintain our momentum and slow the spread of COVID-19 by exercising caution and following health guidance,” Governor Holcomb said in a statement. “As we advance to Stage 4 and further reopen Indiana for business, we’ll continue to monitor our progress and make data-informed decisions.”

Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in early March and he will continue to do so as the state continues a sector-by-sector reset. The state will move to reopen while continuing to monitor and respond to these four guiding principles:

  • The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 days
  • The state retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators
  • The state retains its ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders, and frontline employees
  • Health officials have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracing

At his June 10 virtual press conference, Prince announced new guidelines for the city. He said businesses can operate up to 75 percent capacity. Prince said restaurants and food services can operate at 50 percent capacity while bars, nightclubs and entertainment venues should remain closed.

For churches or houses of worship, Prince said gatherings should be no more than 100 people, who should be spaced six feet apart.

Under the governor’s Phase 4 restrictions, personal services like salons, spas and tattoo parlors may continue operating by appointment only.

Prince said the Gary Health Department is offering to test anyone for the coronavirus.

Residents do not need a doctor’s note and no upfront payment is needed. Proof of insurance is encouraged. Residents can be tested between 9 a.m. to noon at the Gary Health Department, located at 1145 W. 5th Ave.

At his June 10 virtual press conference, Prince said people are becoming more “relaxed” in their social interactions and are not practicing safe social distancing.

Gary Health Commissioner Dr. Ronald Walker said the city had six new COVID-19 cases since the last report. Walker said he wants to see Gary consistently average less than 10 new cases a day for two weeks.

Statewide, as of June 16, about 2,265 Indiana residents have died from COVID-19 and 40,786 have been infected with the virus. About 363,745 have been tested for the virus.

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