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INDIANAPOLIS After essentially reopening the state and removing almost all COVID-19 related restrictions on businesses seven weeks ago, Indiana has seen a quick surge in hospitalizations and cases that have necessitated another round of mitigation measures.

Hospitalizations in the state have increased 200 percent since restrictions were lifted. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced a new executive order Wednesday that limits crowd sizes to 20 people in the highest risk counties, while also limiting K-12 sports and extracurricular events.

The order, which will go in effect Sunday, comes as a response to Indiana reporting more than 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, the second one-day record for the state in less than a week.

“Because our frontline medical personnel, our nurses and assistants and doctors, they’re exhausted and overwhelmed and need us all to do the things that we can on the outside that will slow the number of patients that will need hospitalization and their treatment inside,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb added that the removal of mitigation measures led some residents to return to activities as they were prior to the pandemic.

Lake and Porter Counties in Northwest Indiana are both above a 15 percent 7-day positivity rate, reflecting the overall surge seen in the Chicago area.

Holcomb also announced Wednesday that the statewide mask mandate will be extended for another month.