CHICAGO (CBS) — Over the past week, the average number of daily cases of COVID-19 across three counties in Northwest Indiana are near the lowest levels since the start of the pandemic.

Lake County, which has been one of the state’s hardest hit areas, averaged 36 cases a day in the past week.  In Porter and LaPorte counties, those daily COVID-19 cases are averaging in the single digits. Through Wednesday, Lake County  reports 4,057 cases and 223 deaths–the second worst county in Indiana, well behind Indianapolis/Marion County with 10,492 cases and 643 deaths.

Tomorrow, the state begins the next phase of its reopening plan, allowing stores to operate at full capacity and social gatherings of 250 people, with proper social distancing. Restaurants can operate at 75 percent capacity, while bars and night clubs can operate at 50 percent capacity. Movie theaters and bowling alleys can open at half their capacity. Casinos will be allowed to open as well. 

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The guidelines warn indivuals with health problems and those over 65 should remain extremely cautious about their activities in public.  Masks should be worn by all Hoosiers, and remote working is still encouraged when possible.

Large events, festivals and parades are still prohibited.  Gov. Eric Holcomb said his goal remains to fully reopen the state by July 4.

Most of the state is seeing a downward trend in cases and health officials say that most of those who are getting sick are not getting seriously ill, unlike earlier in the outbreak. However, officials in Elkhart County are concerned after seeing an increase in cases in the past week. State health officials also warn that people should remain vigilant when it comes to hygeine and social distancing or risk losing progress made in slowing the virus’ spread.