While you were sleeping: Coronavirus updates for July 8

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INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic that you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

A mask and face covering requirement begins in Marion County tomorrow, July 9.

The requirement applies to when residents are out of their homes in an indoor space (office buildings, retail establishments), Mayor Joe Hogsett said.

Masks are also required if you are outdoors and unable to socially distance (sitting in stands at a game, standing in line at an outdoor venue, for example).

There are some exceptions to the mandate.

When you’re eating at a restaurant or bar, you do not need to wear a mask, but you will need one in the waiting area.

If you’re exercising outside in groups of less than 25 people, you don’t need to wear one.

And anyone doing indoor exercise that’s incompatible with wearing a mask, including swimming, doesn’t need to wear one either.

If you don’t comply, you could face a fine of up to $1,000.

There is no statewide mask mandate in Indiana, but four counties have implemented one. Starting tomorrow, those counties are Marion, Elkhart, Lagrange, and St. Joseph Counties. 

And while there’s no order in Monroe County, the new public health order there requires businesses to post a sign at their main entrance. The signs request customers wear face coverings at the business to protect those around them. 

Businesses have to post the signs by Wednesday, July 8.

Daily COVID-19 positive test result rates have jumped up in Marion County and across Indiana significantly in the last month, and experts fear we’re on the front end of a surge in coronavirus cases in the state.

At the end of June in Indiana, the daily positive test rate was 4.6%.

At the start of July across the state, that number has climbed to 6.8%.

In Marion County, at the end of last month, the daily positive rate was 4.7%.

During this past week, that statistic has jumped to 7.1%.

Indiana hospitals are bracing themselves for a resurgence in coronavirus patients.

“Honestly back in June, I was thinking that by July and August we’ll actually be in pretty good shape. But we’ve actually in the past ten days we looked at everything, and we are prepared for increased hospitalizations in the next four to six weeks,” Community Health Network Chief Executive Physician Dr. Ram Yeleti said.

Half of all the new cases are in Hoosiers between the ages of 20 and 40—that’s double what the percentage was during the early days of the pandemic.

The Marion County Fair is set to open this weekend after it was postponed because of the coronavirus.

It’s one of the first big events in our area since the start of the pandemic, and organizers expect even more visitors than normal.

Fair organizers say they have precautions in place to keep visitors healthy and safe. 

There will be hand sanitizer stations, screenings of employees and vendors, and social distancing in lines. 

Face masks are also mandatory to enter. 

“Our capacity is 100,000 people so 10,000 is just a tenth of that. So we should be fine with social distancing, plenty of room and plenty of space for people to enjoy the fair,” spokesperson Abdul-Hakim Shabazz said.

Marion County Fair officials say they had to submit a plan to the county public health department. The health department says this is not an approval process but rather an opportunity to review and offer input.

Fairs are allowed under the current 4.5 stage of Indiana’s Back on Track Plan.

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