INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s COVID-19 precautions further eased Thursday under new executive orders issued by the governor, even as he cited worries about the state’s lagging vaccination rate.
The state’s public health emergency was extended until at least the end of July as Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday signed the 16th renewal of that order that he first issued in March 2020.
Holcomb’s order said its renewal ensures Indiana can continue responding effectively to the pandemic. It also keeps the state eligible for additional Medicaid funding and other federal assistance programs.
The governor pointed out that Indiana’s fully vaccinated rate of 48% ranks the state 38th in the country — and that 98.5% of new COVID-19 infections are among unvaccinated people. The coronavirus “remains a threat to the health, safety and welfare of all residents of Indiana,” the order said.
The state health department has recorded 36 coronavirus-related deaths over the past week, boosting Indiana’s pandemic toll to 13,855.
Holcomb has lifted nearly all statewide restrictions over recent months as Indiana’s levels of new COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths have declined to their lowest since widespread tracking began in spring 2020. Wednesday was the last day for the indoor mask requirement for students and K-12 school workers.