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July 13 - July 19 Week Update

The continued rise in new virus cases in Indiana prompted Gov. Eric Holcomb to announce Wednesday he is extending the state’s current capacity limits for restaurants and bars and other restrictions for at least another two weeks. Initially, the state was expected to get to stage 5 by July 17.

Dr. Kristina Box, state health director, said that the 7-day average for positivity rate is increasing in Indiana. On Wednesday, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 700 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 53,370, as well as an additional 10 deaths with a cumulative total of 2,592.

In her opening statements, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box announced cases over the past two weeks have increased, with supply and demand issues increasing wait times for lab results.

According to Dr. Box, Indiana is seeing delayed test results due to the national backup. She also said the state is seeing more young Hoosiers infected with coronavirus.

The state’s health director, Dr. Kristina Box, warned that another surge of cases could come in the fall with the start of the regular flu season.

Wednesday’s press conference took on a more somber tone as state officials stressed the continued danger of the coronavirus.

Gary Health Commissioner Roland Walker said he has met with the Gary Schools and reviewed their re-opening plans. He said that those plans remain fluid at this time. However, Walker said he is adamant that parents should consider not allowing their children to play contact sports once school resumes.

Mayor Jerome Prince announced Friday that he is mandating face coverings in the city when people gather outside and during indoor settings with others who are not from the same household or crowds of strangers.

However, he is keeping the city’s beachfront open. Since the city has a six-mile stretch of beach, he is comfortable that people will be able to social distance.

Strack & Van Til and Meijer will start requiring customers to wear masks in its stores soon.

Starting on Thursday, July 23, Strack & Van Til will require customers to wear a mask or face covering when shopping in their stores

Local school districts releases their re-opening plans the week of July 13. Most will allow parents to choose their method of instruction -- either in class or online.

However, Portage Township Schools will only provide online instruction for the first quarter of their school year.

East Chicago officials say they are pleased with the potential de-listing of 671 of the 1,078 properties from the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is a step forward for the health and safety of residents who live in the Calumet area, said city officials.

The properties have been cleaned and can be removed from the national priorities list. But resident representatives said they had not been notified of the EPA's decision.

The Census Bureau announced that it will begin following up in select areas with households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census.

The majority of census offices across the country will begin follow-up work on August 11. All offices will conclude work no later than October 31.

The State of Indiana has a 66% response rate for the census. Response for the census for individual cities are:

Gary 45%;

East Chicago 42.5%;

Hammond 60.3%;

Merrillville 68%:

and Valparaiso 73%.

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