JASPER COUNTY — On June 20, a second death contributed to the coronavirus was recorded on the state’s tally board for Jasper County. As the state continues to open up, the county’s number of positive cases is on the rise. On Friday, June 26, the county hit 100 positive cases so far, increasing by 17 since June 15.

The number tested as of Tuesday, stood at 2,422, and increase of 683 tests since June 15. According to the state health department’s numbers (https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/), 4.4% of those tested have had positive results. On June 30, the number of positives reached 107.

In Newton County, there are 10 deaths recorded and 94 positive cases out of only 678 tested so far in the county.

Phase 5 of the governor’s “Back on Track Indiana” program is set to begin on July 4, in time for the holiday.

At his Wednesday (June 24) press conference, Gov. Holcomb said young adults are putting people at risk because they are not wearing masks or following social distancing guidelines. He said they are “sloppy,” and younger people feel invincible. He urged everyone to continue to wear a face mask in public and to follow social distancing and hand washing to keep people safe.

The state health department expects the number of cases to rise as the state opens up and more and more people gather without masks and proper distancing. State Health Director Dr. Box said “You may be sick and never know it. This is not business as usual. It is not the same as before. If you’re not wearing a mask, you are putting others at risk.”

She continued, “Please wear a mask, social distance. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for others.”

Holcomb said it is good common sense in direct correlation to the common good. He said he agrees with her plea so the state can continue to get to Phase 5 in July. Behavior is a contributor to how the virus is spread. He did say the numbers are trending the right way to keep the state on track.

He said since June 17, the unemployment rate in the state dropped below the national average. He said there is a lot of activity happening on the economic development front and currently there are 93,000 jobs available that need to be filled throughout the state. RV, boat and auto sales are on the rise, and more inventory is needed. All three of those industries have factories in Indiana.

Home building permits are “stronger than last year,” he said, and home sales are on pace to outdo last year’s sales as well.

“Skill up folks during this time of uncertainty. It’s critically important to stay on track. The numbers are trending the right way,” he said.

He announced extending the moratorium on evictions for renters through the month of July, but did not extend utility shut-offs for non-payment as yet.