Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb extended the state’s public health emergency today through Dec. 31. It was the 9th time he’s extended the order for mask and additional mandates regarding the Coronavirus. 

Indiana has been under a public health emergency for 270 days.

“The spread of the disease in the Hoosier state has increased significantly over the past 30 days, as demonstrated by a 7-day average positivity rate of over 10%, an increase from under 4% ten weeks ago; new confirmed cases daily; increased hospitalizations, and tragically, continued deaths from COVID-19,” said Holcomb.

You can read the executive order here – Executive-Order-20-49-Ninth-Renewal-of-Emergency-Declaration (1)

The news comes on the same day that Indiana health officials reported 5,518 new cases of the coronavirus and 142 new deaths  – the most reported in any single day to date.

The updated figures bring Indiana’s total coronavirus toll to 5,598 deaths and 344,373 cases.

Holcomb first issued the Public Health Emergency executive order on March 6.

Indiana code dictates that a disaster emergency can only be in effect for 30 days unless renewed by the governor. 

Indiana now ranks second in the nation for COVID-19 hospitalizations per capita, according to new data. 

Roughly 50 out of every 100,000 Hoosiers are now hospitalized with COVID-19, an increase from last week that builds on an alarming trend that is straining the state’s hospital system. 

Only South Dakota at 61 per 100,000 is doing worse, according to the IndyStar analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project, an initiative led by journalists, scientists and others since the pandemic began.

But while South Dakota has about 480 hospital beds per 100,000 people, according to a 2018 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Indiana has about 270. 

“The current hospitalization trends are alarming and are straining Indiana’s hospitals’ ability to care for all patients, including those with COVID 19,” said Brian Tabor, president of the Indiana Hospital Association in an emailed statement.

“Hospitals across the state are struggling with staffing issues as the number of cases has grown. Each one of us must commit to doing our part to reduce the spread of this terrible disease so that all Hoosiers can access the care that they need 24/7.”

Less than two weeks ago, Indiana led 44 other states in hospitalizations, but the number of patients hospitalized for COVID treatment across the state has increased since to 3,401. In the spring the number of people hospitalized never broke 2,000.

While new coronavirus cases dipped over the weekend — perhaps because fewer people got tested during the holiday weekend — the number of patients hospitalized for COVID now exceeds any other time in the pandemic.

The count dipped slightly from Wednesday to Thursday but otherwise has been on the rise for the past 10 days.

The Institute reported 3,834 (over half of all Covid deaths) had been in hospitals.