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Indiana reports 2nd coronavirus death, more confirmed cases

March 17, 2020 GMT
A sign is posted outside of Witham Health Services drive-through Community Viral Screening center, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Whitestown, Ind. The screening center for coronavirus will help provide guidance and reduce unnecessary trips to the emergency room. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
A sign is posted outside of Witham Health Services drive-through Community Viral Screening center, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Whitestown, Ind. The screening center for coronavirus will help provide guidance and reduce unnecessary trips to the emergency room. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two people in Indiana have died from the coronavirus in two days, state health officials announced Tuesday.

The latest person to die was a Johnson County resident in their 60s who had been hospitalized, the Indiana State Department of Health reported Tuesday.

Indiana recorded its first COVID-19 death on Monday, when an Indianapolis resident died. Johnson County is just south of Indianapolis.

The health department also reported six new additional confirmed COVID-19 illnesses, giving the state 30 cases across 15 counties. The new cases involve two people each from Franklin, Lake and Marion counties.

State officials acknowledge that thousands of people are likely infected by the virus and that testing is largely being done on those with serious symptoms or known exposure to others infected.

Most schools around Indiana are closed to students and Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday called for all restaurants, nightclubs and bars to close as of Tuesday to stem the spread of the virus.

Holcomb has also signed an executive order activating the Indiana National Guard to be on duty to assist as needed with coronavirus response, the governor’s office announced Tuesday. Holcomb said Monday that the National Guard could be used to provide temporary medical facilities.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

Holcomb said Monday the state’s economy would see a “big hit” from business closures during the national virus response.

The state’s first large manufacturing loss came as kitchen cabinet maker cited the “financial impact of the global spread of the coronavirus” for its decision to close its 165-worker factory in the eastern Indiana city of Connersville. Wayzata Home Products said in a letter to state officials that the shutdown was effective last Friday and would be permanent.

Indiana’s Roman Catholic bishops on Tuesday said they were suspending all public Sunday and weekday Masses starting Wednesday until further notice. The bishops cited the recommendations of state health officials, who have asked for no public gatherings of more than 50 people.

“As Catholics, we must do our part to help protect those who could be infected by the virus at public gatherings,” Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades said.

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