INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana’s health commissioner urged Hoosiers on Tuesday to continue to adhere to the state’s stay-at-home order, warning that while Indiana’s coronavirus cases had surged past 2,000 and its deaths climbed to 49, the state remained far from reaching its peak in cases.
Indiana’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, grew by 374, to 2,159, following corrections to the previous day’s total, the Indiana State Department of Health said earlier Tuesday. A week ago, the state had 365 confirmed cases and 12 reported deaths from COVID-19.
Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said Tuesday’s numbers -- including 14 additional deaths -- obviously represented “a very big increase.”
But she urged Hoosiers to continue to abide by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s a statewide stay-at-home that took effect March 25, saying that the worst still lies ahead. Indiana's order includes exemptions for essential businesses to remain open and for necessary trips for food and medicine.
“I do not want Hoosiers to see these rising numbers and think that that means the peak has arrived. We have a very long way to go before we reach the peak, and I cannot say enough about how important it is for you to continue to stay home,” Box said during a briefing.
Five of the state's 14 new deaths involved Indianapolis residents and four others were from Lake County. There was one death each reported from Elkhart, Decatur, Hancock, Ripley and Warren counties.
Marion County, the home of Indianapolis, had 170 of the state’s 374 new coronavirus cases reported Tuesday. Indianapolis and the seven counties surrounding it account for 68% of Indiana’s COVID-19 deaths and 63% of its confirmed cases.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are among those particularly susceptible to more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.
Tuesday’s update on the pandemic in Indiana followed Monday’s announcement by state officials that Indiana hospitals have increased the state’s intensive care unit capacity by about one-third in the last few weeks in preparation for an expected surge in coronavirus-related illnesses.
Box said Monday that Indiana’s illness peak was still expected in mid- to late-April, but some prediction models put it later, as late as mid-May.