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Indiana to reopen at full capacity, mask mandate still in place

| Thursday, September 24, 2020

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state will move to Stage 5 of its reopening plan beginning Saturday, Sept. 26, the Indianapolis Star reported Wednesday.

While restaurants, bars, fitness centers and stores will be open at full capacity, the statewide mask order will continue indefinitely. Holcomb said people must maintain social distancing and wear masks except while eating or drinking.

“We want to make sure we’re doing all those little things that add up to make a big, big difference,” he said.

There have been a total of 3,322 COVID-19 related deaths since March 15 in the state. In the last seven days, Indiana has seen a 3.9% positivity rate and a total of 114,236 positive cases since March 6.

The decrease in Indian’s positivity rate in the past few months helped led Holcomb to further open the state. The seven-day positivity rate for all tests was 6 to 6.5% in July.

Holcomb also said the rates of spread have decreased across the majority of counties.

Mark Fox, St. Joseph County’s deputy health officer, told the South Bend Tribune he was worried about Holcomb’s recent announcement.

“I am not sure what he is seeing that gives him the confidence to do that,” he said in the article.

The seven-day positivity rate is 3.1% in St. Joseph County, and the average number of new cases has increased for the fifth straight day.

Those who have been testing positive have not been linked to activities related to the Notre Dame’s home football games or Labor Day, the Tribune reported.

“We really have not pinpointed anything specific,” Fox said.

University spokesman Dennis Brown said the governor’s decision to stage 5 of his reopening plan does not affect the policies Notre Dame has in place on campus.

“[Our policies] will remain the same, and we strongly urge students to — on and off campus —  continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands often,” Brown said.

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