March 7, 2022

Coronavirus: Holcomb ends public health emergency, Indiana eclipses 22,000 dead

Indiana’s weekly reported COVID-19 cases has dropped for seven straight weeks – the state only reported 3,412 new cases last week.  - (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana’s weekly reported COVID-19 cases has dropped for seven straight weeks – the state only reported 3,412 new cases last week.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana surpasses 22,000 dead, as the rate of new deaths slows. Gov. Eric Holcomb signs the General Assembly’s less restrictive COVID-19 vaccine mandate bill. And he ended the state’s public health emergency, which had been in place since March 2020.

THE DATA

Indiana’s weekly reported COVID-19 cases has dropped for seven straight weeks – the state only reported 3,412 new cases last week. Alongside that drop, the statewide COVID-19 hospital census is at its lowest since July 24.

And the rate of newly reported deaths has similarly fallen. On Wednesday, the state eclipsed 22,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

Indiana peaked at an average of 98 deaths per day in December 2020. But deaths plummeted in summer 2021 to seven deaths per day.

December 2021 grew to 56.1 and January reported about 67.8 deaths per day. But February’s reported data so far has averaged only 34.6 per day. That number will likely still grow, because deaths are reported over a longer period of time.

State health officials say there are an additional 891 suspected COVID-19 deaths – where a test wasn’t administered but health care professionals believe the person had the virus.

IDOH has reported 188 new deaths to its total in the last seven days.

THE STATE RESPONSE

Governor signs less restrictive COVID-19 vaccine employer mandate bill

The debate in the General Assembly over how and whether to restrict businesses from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates is over.

House Republicans sent a far less restrictive version of their bill to Gov. Eric Holcomb Thursday, who then signed it into law.

The original House version of HB 1001 would’ve forced businesses to grant religious exemptions to getting the vaccine, no matter what. But the measure headed to the governor merely requires businesses to follow current federal law when it comes to considering such exemptions.

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Gov. Eric Holcomb officially ends Indiana's COVID-19 public health emergency

Indiana’s public health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic is officially over.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order Thursday ending the emergency declaration that’s been in place since March 2020.

This move was made possible when Holcomb signed into law Thursday HB 1001. It contains provisions that ensure Indiana will maintain access to millions in federal funding tied to the pandemic and continue to offer vaccine clinics to children under age 11.

THE HEADLINES

Ball State to drop COVID-19 mask mandate

Ball State University is the latest Hoosier public university to drop its COVID-19 indoor face mask mandate.

The university stopped requiring masks at the end of the business day on Friday, March 4 – right as many students left campus for Spring Break.

Ball State dropped the mandate after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its mask-wearing recommendations. Officials also said the school has considered specific COVID-19 transmission data on campus, vaccination rates and advice from local health officials.

Last month, Indiana University and Purdue University also announced an end to their mask mandates.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

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