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Indiana governor to reimpose coronavirus restrictions in most counties

Indiana governor to reimpose coronavirus restrictions in most counties
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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is expected to reimpose coronavirus restrictions in most counties in the state on Wednesday amid rising hospitalizations and deaths. 

The restrictions, set to go into effect next weekend, will apply to 87 of the state’s 92 counties, which are considered to be at the two higher-risk levels of virus spread. The highest-risk red counties will only allow gatherings of up to 25 people, while the next-highest orange counties will permit crowds of up to 50 people, the governor said during his address. 

Religious gatherings are exempt, and any other events that plan to have a larger amount of people require approval from officials. Holcomb's mask mandate will also continue another month. 

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“Unfortunately, too many of us, and around the country, have let our guards down, and either assumed we won’t get it or if we do, so be it, we’ll get through it, without any more universal consideration to what these multiplying numbers have on others and our system of care,” he said.

The restrictions come after Holcomb removed most of the state’s business and gathering size regulations in September. Indiana has since experienced a 200 percent increase in COVID-19 patients, The Associated Press noted

The rise in cases in Indiana aligns with the rest of the country, as experts say the colder weather and growing reluctance to follow guidance is contributing to the surge. 

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The governor, who won reelection last week, initially pledged not to change COVID-19 restrictions. 

But the state has repeatedly documented record single-day highs for new cases over the past two weeks, reaching a record 5,036 new cases on Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project

In early October, all but nine counties were in the lowest two risk levels. The risk levels are based on the number of new cases per 100,000 residents and the percentage of positive tests.

Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor told the AP that hospitals across the state are getting close to capacity. 

“The strain is making it so there are fewer and fewer places that now can handle the increased workload when one hospital becomes overrun,” Tabor said.