INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials on Friday reported 510 more Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 9 more have died; and one of the state’s largest unions called on more safeguards for workers and customers.
That brings to 44,140 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus, and raises the confirmed death toll to 2,403 Hoosiers, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Another 192 probable deaths have been reported.
The total includes 510 cases and 25 deaths in La Porte County; 654 cases and 36 deaths in Porter County; 1,780 cases and 60 deaths in St. Joseph County; 4,650 cases and 238 deaths in Lake County; and 63 cases and 3 deaths in Starke County, according to the ISDH.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
To date, 453,890 test results have been reported to the state agency and 9.7 percent of those results have been positive for the coronavirus. There have been 6,976 tests reported in La Porte County.
Also Friday, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents 1.3 million workers – including more than 17,000 Indiana workers in groceries, meatpacking plants and other essential businesses – called on Gov. Eric Holcomb for action to protect workers and consumers.
UFCW reported that among its members, 238 frontline workers have died and nearly 29,000 workers have been infected or exposed in the first 100 days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Indiana COVID-19 cases continue to increase, UFCW is calling on Holcomb to work with business leaders to enact three policies to support and protect millions of frontline workers in Indiana:
Reinstate hazard pay and establish a $15 per hour wage for all frontline workers
Establish a mask mandate for all businesses and public gatherings
Create a public registry to track COVID-19 infections in frontline workers, which would require companies with more than 1,000 employees to submit monthly reports on worker deaths, infections and exposure
“With our country now 100 days into the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s frontline workers in Indiana and across the country still face many of the same dangers they faced on day one,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in a statement.
“In grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and healthcare facilities, our country’s frontline workers are still getting sick and dying. It’s high time for America’s CEOs and elected leaders to pull their heads out of the sand and take the strong action needed to protect these brave workers and the communities they serve.”
Perrone said frontline workers “simply cannot survive with the current patchwork of safety measures that still leave so many unprotected and vulnerable. We need real enforcement of strong safety standards.
“Even worse, some of our nation’s biggest companies like Amazon, Walmart, and Kroger are still keeping us in the dark and refusing to tell the American people how many of their workers have died or been exposed to COVID-19.”
The union gave the following numbers for worker infections and deaths:
In grocery stores across the country, there have been at least 82 worker deaths and 11,507 workers infected or exposed
At meatpacking plants nationwide, there have been at least 65 worker deaths and 14,214 workers infected or exposed
In food processing facilities, there have been at least 28 worker deaths and 3,474 workers infected or exposed.
In healthcare facilities, at least 21 worker deaths have been reported, with 11,478 workers infected or exposed