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This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

INDIANAPOLIS—The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths across Indiana continue to climb rapidly as Tuesday’s recorded new cases included 1,569 additional Hoosiers diagnosed and 27 more deaths.

“Unlike before, we’re not only seeing an increase in cases, but we’re also seeing an increase in apathy toward this pandemic,” said Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, in a news release. He is the Indiana House minority leader.

In all, the Indiana State Department of Health’s daily report found 138,104 Hoosiers have contracted the highly contagious virus and a total of 3,595 have died.

Tuesday’s numbers, while high compared to the few hundred cases recorded daily in the summer, are below the 1,937 cases reported Friday, which prompted GiaQuinta and other Democrats to call for a rollback of the state’s reopening.

The state has averaged more than 1,000 cases daily for the past week, higher than any other week since the emergence of COVID-19. The growth in cases may be related to the current availability of testing in comparison to that of March through June. More than four times as many tests are administered on a daily basis now in comparison to an average day in April or May.

Of all 2.4 million COVID-19 tests administered in Indiana, the positivity rate is 5.7%. That includes people who have been tested more than once. But for all of the unique individual tests, the positivity rate in 9.2%.

On Monday, there were 1,288 total COVID-19 patients in Indiana hospitals, the highest number since May 19.

The dramatic increase in cases occurs only two weeks after Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Indiana’s entry into Stage 5 of his reopening plan that began in March with the shutdown of all but the most essential businesses. Stage 5 includes the reopening of bars, nightclubs, restaurants, indoor and outdoor venues and gyms at full capacity.

Holcomb and Dr. Kristina Box, state health commissioner, have cautioned that Stage 5 is not a return to normal because face masks and social distancing are still required in public.

But many people are acting like it’s a return to normal.

“The Stage 5 and schools reopening are a big reason why numbers are going up,” said Tony Mancuso, LaPorte County Health Department administrator.

LaPorte County is the home of the popular Blue Chip Casino and Resort as well as other Lake Michigan attractions. The county is now seeing 178 weekly cases per 100,000 residents. Mancuso also added that several Chicago and Michigan residents own lake houses in the county.

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising especially in the Northwest region of Indiana, health officials in Chicago are strongly advising its residents to not travel to Indiana.

LaMonte Richardson Jr is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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