The report that three people died of COVID-19 this weekend in Grant County was erroneous, according to Grant County Emergency Management Agency Director Bob Jackson.

At Monday's Grant County Commissioners meeting, Jackson said only two people died of the novel coronavirus in Grant County over the weekend, which matches  Indiana State Department of Health reports released at 10 a.m. Monday morning.

Jackson said the original report released Sunday, which said three people died of COVID-19, was a mistake made while trying to get information out to the public quickly. 

"We reported erroneously yesterday misinformation that had come along, but in our efforts to be transparent and provide information as quickly as we can an error was made and we are currently at two deaths," Jackson said Monday morning. "That’s pretty much where we stand at the (emergency operation center)."

After the news broke, Marion Mayor Jess Alumbaugh gave an 'urgent address" to the community. 

"It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news of the first coronavirus-related deaths in our community," Marion Mayor Jess Alumbaugh. "Please join me in praying for the families and friends of the three human beings who did not survive this pandemic. And continue to lift those who have been infected by the virus and are still in quarantine. Last but not least, continue to pray for our healthcare workers, first responders, and all the people who continue to work during this pandemic.

On Monday, Alumbaugh signed an executive order to extend the timeline for local observance of social distancing and essential travel restrictions "until further notice."

"Please stay home for the next 14 days," Alumbaugh said Sunday during his address. "Don't stay home because your government is asking you to stay home. Do it because it's the right thing to do in these unprecedented times."

The order takes effect noon on Monday, April 6.

Items mentioned in the order include: city offices will remain closed to the public while work is still being done remotely, the building department will continue to issue permits and inspect properties, the city-wide maintenance facility will no longer accept or routinely pick up brush, the transportation department terminal will be closed and the bus will operate by request for essential travel by calling 765-668-4445, the park system will remain open but playground equipment will be closed, and the gardens at Matter Park will remain open but shelters will be closed. 

According to the latest ISDH data released at 10 a.m. Monday, there are 4,944 cases in Indiana. At least 139 Hoosiers have died. A total of 26,191 tests have been conducted. 

Monday's update showed the largest increase in positive tests since the department began reporting on COVID-19. There were 536 new cases in Indiana reported Monday. 

Monday's report added four new fatalities to Indiana's totals. 

A full story with comment from local leaders will appear in the Tuesday edition of the Chronicle-Tribune and will be uploaded to Monday evening. 

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