Indiana pandemic death toll tops 5K as virus continues surge

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has now claimed the lives of more than 5,000 Indiana residents, while another increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations has filled the state’s hospitals with nearly 3,000 patients, state health officials said Tuesday.

Eighty-four newly recorded coronavirus-related deaths pushed Indiana’s pandemic toll to 5,025, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus infections, the Indiana State Department of Health said.

The department's also shows that Indiana had 2,951 coronavirus hospitalizations as of Monday. That's the largest number hospitalized with COVID-19 since the state began making such reports public last spring, and it recorded as of Sunday.

The state agency also reported that another 5,541 Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 — the seventh straight day of recording more than 5,000 new infections. Indiana’s average daily number of newly confirmed COVD-19 cases reached 6,143 as of Monday, up 243% from a month ago.

Dozens of Indiana school districts are amid the state's surge in COVID-19 cases. Many schools are having trouble staying open due to the growing number of teachers and students who are sick or in quarantine, Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said last week.

While Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has insisted that mask-wearing and social distancing “are proven to work” so schools can remain open for in-person instruction, Box expressed more caution, advising local officials to reconsider schools’ operations plans as virus spread spikes.

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