State jobless claims jump 30K with virus downturn

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — About 30,000 people applied for unemployment benefits in Indiana last week even as many business restrictions stemming from the coronavirus outbreak were eased in most of the state.

An additional 27 people in Indiana have died with confirmed or probable coronavirus infections, pushing the state’s death toll to nearly 1,650, health officials said Thursday.

Jobless claims grow

Indiana has had about 640,000 people seek jobless aid over the past eight weeks since business closures swept across the country, the U.S. Department of Labor statistics showed. Indiana reported processing nearly 69,000 applications for a separate federal program set up for self-employed and gig workers.

The number of initial unemployment applications submitted in Indiana last week was down about 12,000 from the week before and continued a downward trend from the 100,000-plus the state received for three straight weeks in late March and early April. Indiana was receiving fewer than 3,000 claims per week before the pandemic hit the country.

The federal statistics show Indiana was paying unemployment benefits to about 270,000 people during the week ending April 25, while only about 13,000 people received those payments a year earlier.

Nationally, nearly 3 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week after the government said the unemployment rate soared to 14.7% in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression.

More virus deaths

The Indiana State Department of Health recorded 26 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths, along with one additional death considered coronavirus-related by doctors but without confirmation of the illness from test results.

Most of the newly recorded deaths happened Tuesday or Wednesday, with others stretching back to May 7. The latest state statistics list 1,508 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, along with 138 deaths with probable infections for a total of 1,646.

A statewide study by Indiana University researchers released Wednesday estimates that at least 2.8% of Indiana’s population had been infected by the coronavirus by May 1. That infection rate would mean about 186,000 Indiana residents with infections.

Coronavirus testing around the state has largely been limited to those seriously ill and health-care workers. The state health department reported about 26,000 confirmed infections on Thursday.

Additional testing has become available around Indiana, with a state contractor opening 50 testing locations. The tests are available to those with symptoms of the respiratory illness, those in close contact with someone infected and people with high-risk health conditions.

Test registration can be done online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1116.




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com