On Thursday, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced that he will advance the state to an updated version of the Stage 5 Back On Track Indiana plan and extend the state’s face covering mandate until at least Oct. 17, according to Rachel Hoffmeyer, press secretary.

Last month, the Wabash County Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the continuation of Stage 4.5 of the Back on Track Indiana plan. The resolution was supported by the Wabash County Board of Commissioners.

Hoffmeyer said local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.

“Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March and he continues to do so,” said Hoffmeyer.

The state continues to monitor and respond to an expanded set of metrics, including:

The seven-day average positivity rate.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide.

The number of critical care beds and ventilators.

The state’s ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders and frontline employees.

Systems are in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracing.

The number of positive cases per 100,000 residents.

Hoffmeyer said under this adjusted Stage 5, face coverings remain required.

“Organizers of events with more than 500 people in attendance will be required to submit a plan to the local health department that outlines measures to mitigate COVID-19. Restaurants and bars that serve food may open at full capacity as long as six feet of space to maintain social distancing is in place. Customers must be seated at a table or counter. Indoor and outdoor venues may open at full capacity with social distancing measures in place. Senior centers and congregate meal sites may open with precautions. Personal services and gyms and fitness centers may resume normal operations with social distancing safeguards and cleaning protocols in place,” said Hoffmeyer.

Hoffmeyer said Holcomb also signed an executive order extending the public health emergency an additional 30 days.

For more information, visit BackOnTrack.in.gov or https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm.

Local figures

On Wednesday, the ISDH announced two new local COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 262, with 4,895 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 1.4 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 2.9 percent.

On Thursday, the ISDH announced one new local COVID-19 case, bringing Wabash County’s total to 263, with 4,922 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 0.9 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 1.4 percent.

On Friday, the ISDH announced one new local COVID-19 case, bringing Wabash County’s total to 264, with 4,950 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 1.1 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 0.8 percent.

The state still reported eight local deaths.

Adjusted local counts

On at least four occasions during the past two weeks, the ISDH has adjusted Wabash County’s total case count.

On Wednesday, Jeni O’Malley, ISDH deputy chief of staff and chief communications officer, said the most recent example of Wabash County adding two cases between Tuesday and Wednesday, but the total count only going up by one was the result of a patient who had duplicate patient IDs.

“When we identified the issue, they were merged into one today, which resulted in the change to the Wabash County counts,” said O’Malley.

When asked about the other three similar such recent incidents, O’Malley referenced a statement by Dr. Kristina Box, state health commissioner, from the televised press conference earlier that day that “data corrections occur daily as duplications are removed and other information comes in and is verified.”

Statewide figures

On Friday, the ISDH announced that 1,195 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at the state laboratory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. That brings to 115,407 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard.

A total of 3,340 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 18 from the previous day. Another 226 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by the state and occurred over multiple days.

To date, 1,341,462 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 1,331,608 on Thursday. A total of 1,963,006 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26.

To find testing sites around the state, visit www.corona virus.in.gov and click on the COVID-19 testing information link.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com.