Indiana reports 39 more COVID-19 deaths, 3,630 more cases

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana health officials have reported 3,630 new coronavirus infections and 39 additional COVID-19 deaths as the state continued to see a slight decrease in coronavirus-related hospitalizations following a series of spikes throughout December.

The newly confirmed deaths, which occurred over several days, raised Indiana’s toll to 8,514, including both confirmed and presumed infections, the Indiana State Department of Health said Monday.

The number of Indiana residents known to have had the coronavirus is now up to 529,688.

The health department also reported that 2,836 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday at Indiana’s hospitals — an 18% decrease from pandemic-high hospitalization rates a month ago.

Another 208 cases of COVID-19 in Indiana schools were additionally reported, according to the agency’s weekly school statistics update.

Indiana lawmakers opening 2021 session amid virus changes

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers are starting their 2021 legislative session on Monday, although much of the activity is being moved from the Statehouse over coronavirus concerns.

The House of Representatives is moving its meetings from its wood-paneled Statehouse chamber that’s adorned with a 100-light brass chandelier and a marble counter-topped speaker’s dais.

That chamber has been deemed too crowded for the 100 House members and necessary staffers, so the House will meet in a large conference room in a state office building that is now filled with folding tables and standard office chairs.

The Senate will continue meeting in its Statehouse chamber, but the balcony is now closed to the public as some senators will be sitting there to allow greater distancing and plexiglass surrounds the lecterns from which senators speak.

The Republican-dominated Legislature will face debates over whether to roll back GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb’s authority to issue public health orders and must figure out a new state budget with plenty of questions about how the coronavirus-sparked recession will impact state tax collections.

Crews continue to restore power after freezing rain, snow

SOUTH BEND — Crews continue to work to restore electricity to some areas in Indiana and southwestern Michigan that were hit over the weekend by freezing rain and snow.

Service has been returned to about 44,000 Indiana Michigan Power customers, according to the Fort Wayne, Indiana-based utility.

Indiana Michigan Power said the number restored represents about 80% of its customers that lost service. Service was expected to be restored Monday to all customers.

About 100 spans of electrical wires were down and dozens of utility poles were damaged or broken.

In Indiana, South Bend and Elkhart were among the most impacted by the power outages.

Utility workers from seven states have been working up to 16 hours each day to restore service, Indiana Michigan Power said.

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