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Statewide coronavirus update: Case numbers could peak in April, Indiana health chief says

Indiana's daily coronavirus case numbers, which on Friday accounted for a surge that pushed the overall total to nearly 1,000, could peak in early to mid-April, the state's health commissioner said.
Kristina Box offered that information during an afternoon news conference during which she, Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state officials discussed a variety of virus-related updates.
"We're still trying to figure out exactly where we are on that curve, and what is that higher number that we would expect, and that lower number that we would expect on any given day," Box said.
As of Friday morning, the State Department of Health had recorded 981 confirmed cases of the virus and 24 deaths. More than 6,900 people had been tested.

Here are the major takeaways from Friday's news conference: 

The state's testing capacity increased significantly this week, Box said. The state recorded nearly 2,300 new test results over the last 24 hours, the highest to date.

By next week, the Indiana Department of Correction will be producing 200 gowns and masks each day, according to DOC Commissioner Rob Carter. That protective gear will be distributed to first responders, Holcomb said, to save supplies for hospitals and medical facilities.

The Indiana Department of Transportation has been tracking traffic volume data on the state's roadways, comparing it to the week of March 2-8. Thursday saw a decline of 41% of all combined vehicle traffic, including a 45% reduction of passenger vehicles, according to INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness.

The state's $2.3 billion in surplus will take an estimated $1 billion hit before July 15, due to the deferral of state property and income taxes. Holcomb said the state will recover some of those funds once payments begin. "We've built a lot of new bridges in the state of Indiana over the last decade-plus, we know how to do that," Holcomb said. "But this bridge to our recovery, i think is the most important, and our surplus will play a critical role in us getting to the other side."

No press conference is scheduled for Saturday, but Holcomb said he and other leaders will be releasing additional updates. Beginning Monday, the daily updates will be held virtually.

Indiana's coronavirus cases surge to near 1,000 

Indiana's case total rose by more than 50%, with 336 new cases reported in one day, almost half of which have been reported in Marion County. The state also saw seven additional deaths, for a total of 24, according to an official state tally Friday.

Marion County saw almost 100 new cases, for a total of 484, while Hamilton County had a total of 52 cases and Johnson County had 42 cases. Two more people died in Marion County, bringing the county’s total death tally to eight.

Other counties have also seen dramatic increases. Franklin County had 11 new COVID-19 cases, according to county health officials there, which almost doubled the total count to 20. All 11 cases occurred in adults.

More than two-thirds of counties in the state now have at least one case.

For the first time, the state also provided demographics for the reported cases.
More than half, or 52%, were in women. More than half of the cases occurred in people over the age of 50 and more than a third occurred in people over age 60.

That’s not surprising, considering that only people at increased risk, including seniors, have been able to be tested in Indiana.

In all, 6,936 people have been tested for coronavirus in Indiana.

The demographics did not include any information about what percentage of people who have become ill have been hospitalized.
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