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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s coronavirus cases surged by more than 300 to nearly 1,000 statewide Friday, and seven more deaths were reported, bringing the state’s death toll to 24, state health officials said.

Indiana’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, grew by 338 to 981 across the state, following corrections to the previous day’s total, the Indiana State Department of Health said.

That total includes 2 confirmed cases in La Porte County; 6 in Porter County (though the Porter County Health Department reports 9); 27 in St. Joseph County; 47 in Lake County; 4 each in Marshall and Jasper Counties; and 1 in Starke County, according to ISDH.

The Berrien County (Michigan) Health Department reports 18 confirmed cases. Of those, three patients were said to be recovered from the illness.

The Indiana death toll includes one each in St. Joseph and Jasper counties.

Nearly 7,000 people statewide have been tested for the coronavirus, officials said, citing test results reported to the state agency, which also released its first demographic data on Indiana’s confirmed coronavirus cases.

That data shows that slightly more females than males have been infected: 52 percent of the cases are women. About 56 percent of infections are among people aged 50 and older, and about 38 percent are among people age 60 and older – the age group most at risk of having a severe infection.

State health officials have said they are targeting tests for those most at risk and health care workers.

Coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

The data includes no information about how many of Indiana’s health care workers have been infected by the coronavirus. The department also released no demographic information about Indiana’s COVID-19 fatalities, which stood at 24 as of Friday.

At his daily briefing on Friday, Holcomb also announced that offenders at the Miami Correctional Facility are producing face masks, personal protection gowns, face shields and hand sanitizer to be used in the fight against COVID-19.

“I’m pleased to have the Department of Correction joining the ranks of Hoosier businesses, large and small, stepping forward in the fight against COVID-19. Production of these items will lessen the strain on the supply chain, leaving more of these products available for Hoosiers,” he said.

After the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the state, the Department of Correction changed the mission of Indiana Correctional Industry’s production lines at Miami from offender uniforms to protective equipment. This week, ICI stood up two production lines that are producing 200 protection gowns and 200 masks per day.

Holcomb also outlined additional efforts from INDOT and the National Guard:

Traffic on state roads, highways and interstates is down significantly as a result of Hoosiers honoring the Stay-At-Home Order.

To speed up deliveries to retailers, commercial trucks hauling products essential to COVID-19 response are eligible for an emergency overweight vehicle permit. This permit will allow trucks to operate at 90,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rather than 80,000 pounds through at least April 13.

Highway maintenance is ongoing, and construction season will begin on time.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, in partnership with the state’s food banks, has developed a statewide, interactive map that will help Hoosiers seeking food assistance find what they need. It’s available at in.gov/fssa/dfr/5768.htm

The Indiana National Guard is being deployed to six food banks across the state, including Merrillville, to help sort and pack food for distribution to food pantries. The Guard will also work at mobile food distribution sites across the state.

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