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Virus takes higher Indiana death toll, cuts state revenues

May 8, 2020 GMT
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An OptumServe employee collects a sample from a patient inside the National Guard Armory in La Porte, Ind. on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The site was one of 20 across Indiana to roll out the expanded coronavirus screening as part of the state's push to test more Indiana residents. Another 30 sites are expected to open next week. (Ted Yoakum/The News-Dispatch via AP)
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An OptumServe employee collects a sample from a patient inside the National Guard Armory in La Porte, Ind. on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The site was one of 20 across Indiana to roll out the expanded coronavirus screening as part of the state's push to test more Indiana residents. Another 30 sites are expected to open next week. (Ted Yoakum/The News-Dispatch via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana revenue collections for April fell nearly $1 billion short of projections, and the state will soon reduce spending further to cope with the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, the budget director said Friday.

An additional 152 state residents are confirmed or presumed to have died from the coronavirus, pushing Indiana’s death toll from COVID-19 to 1,566, state health officials announced.

REVENUE COLLECTIONS

Collections for the month were forecast last December at just over $2.2 billion but came in $964 million under target, in part because of delayed income tax filings and the loss of all casino taxes amid social distancing steps to slow the spread of the outbreak, Cristopher Johnston, director of the state’s Office of Management and Budget, said during a news conference.

The state recently pushed the deadline for filing individual and corporate income taxes back three months to July 15. Almost $800 million of the $964 million was attributable to delayed filings, Johnston said.

State sales tax collections came in $100, million or 15%, under projections, he said.

The State Budget Agency last month directed agency heads to freeze most hiring and to take other steps to reduce expenses.

Johnston said a memorandum will be issued soon “setting significant spending reduction targets for agency programs.” The state also is relying on its financial reserves to help cover some of the revenue shortfalls. The state’s fiscal year ends June 30.

“Needless to say, the remainder of the fiscal year will be challenging,” Johnston said.

LATEST VIRUS NUMBERS

An additional 152 Hoosiers are confirmed or presumed to have died from the coronavirus, pushing Indiana’s death toll from COVID-19 to 1,566, state health officials announced.

A total of 1,328 Hoosiers have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19, 33 more than on Thursday, the Indiana State Department of Health said. Another 119 probable deaths also have been reported. Those are deaths that state officials said doctors blame on coronavirus infections without confirmation of the illness from test results.

Testing shows 675 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing to 23,146 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the disease, the department said.

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The hospitalization rate for those diagnosed has fallen to 19% from 27% two weeks ago, state Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said during the news conference with Johnston and Gov. Eric Holcomb.

To date, 130,128 tests for the virus have been reported to health department.

Some people who’ve already been tested need to be tested regularly, especially if they’re in high-risk situations, Box said.

Intensive care unit and ventilator capacity remained steady. Nearly 40 percent of ICU beds and more than 81 percent of ventilators were available as of Friday, the department said.