INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A suburban Indianapolis church held services on Sunday for the first time in more than a month, taking care to ensure that worshippers adhered to social-distancing best practices and limiting attendance to conform to the governor’s coronavirus guidance.
The iTOWN Church in Fishers held 40-minute services in which only 10 people were allowed to attend, including the pastor. They started on the hour, leaving 20 minutes in between for cleaning crews to sterilize the inside of the church before the next group of worshippers arrived, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Pastor David Sumrall said in a Facebook post Thursday that the church would resume services while adhering to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people, adding that the church made its decision after consulting with “local government leaders and our lawyers.”
The services resumed on a day that the state passed two grim coronavirus milestones. In a news release, the state Department of Health said Sunday that 28 more people in Indiana had died of COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 813. It also said the number of confirmed cases in Indiana had climbed by 634, bringing the statewide total to 15,012.
The number of infected is almost certainly higher than the official count, as the department also announced that the number of probable coronavirus deaths, in which a physician listed COVID-19 as a contributing cause based on X-rays, scans and other clinical symptoms but for which no positive test is on record, stood at 88.
A day after the agency reported that Marion County had the most new cases, with 194, the agency said on Sunday that Cass County had the most new cases, 273. Three other counties — Hendricks, Marion, Howard and LaPorte — each had at least 30 new cases.
The complete list of counties with cases is included in the health department’s COVID-19 dashboard at www.coronavirus.in.gov. Cases are listed by county of residence.