PRINCETON — Street traffic was light and storefronts were dark in many downtown Princeton buildings, as residents prepared to enter the first day of a statewide “stay at home” order in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indiana State Department of Health reported Tuesday 107 new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total 365 cases diagnosed through ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and private laboratories. The positive case totals include two from Gibson County reported Monday. Twelve Hoosiers have died, though none in Gibson County.

The agency reported some 2,931 tests reported to date, up from 1,960 on Monday.

Marion County had the most new cases, at 51.

With increased restrictions in place, Princeton Mayor Greg Wright encouraged the community to limit public interaction and follow the state-mandated guidelines.

He said in a statement that city employees are communicating and doing business electronically to make sure city functions continue.

Wright asked residents to take time to communicate with others who may be more secluded by sending a text or message or call. “Normal social interactions will be very limited or non-existent and those folks may need our help more than ever,” he said.

The mayor urged residents, as weather warrants, to “get out and enjoy or beautiful trails and continue to be active and maintain a healthy lifestyle to the best of our abilities. Use common sense and practice social distancing at all times. Parents, please keep track of your children and make certain they are aware of current state regulations. Travel only when needed and make the best of those visits to our local businesses and restaurants and shop local whenever possible.

“I am confident we as a community, state and nation will persevere through this tough time and we will be stronger for it. Each day that passes is one day closer to the day that we can return to normal. Historians in the future will look back at our next few weeks and how we handled this difficult situation. Let’s be remembered for how great a community we actually are!”

Under new state restrictions for public gatherings, an Oakland City public hearing on a proposed fire district merger went on as planned Tuesday night, with public comment to come one person at a time entering the meeting room, then leaving.

Businesses deemed “non-essential” in the stay at home order posted notices of intent to close to the public. Some planned to take orders by phone when needed. Pharmacies, hardware/appliance stores, grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants and other businesses remain open, although social distancing precautions are in place.

Tulip Tree Family Health Care reported Tuesday that Toyota granted the facility $12,000 to expand service to uninsured patients. The funds will help cover the cost of care for both new and established uninsured patients and bridge the gap between the clinic’s sliding scale fees and actual cost of service.

The clinic and all other medical and veterinary clinics remain open but have initiated protocol as a precaution in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gibson County Commissioners issued an order Monday that closes entrance to all county buildings to the public unless they have an appointment. The order also closes large venues and playgrounds in the county to public use.

Princeton Public Library Director Brenda Williams reported the library, which is closed to the public, has suspended curbside service until April 7. The library board will review on April 6 whether that suspension can be lifted or must be extended. Williams also reported the library’s benefit auction plans are also suspended.

Gibson County Fair Board President Charlie Woodruff reported on behalf of the fair board that all events at the fairgrounds up to April 22, have been postponed, rescheduled or canceled. A few events after April 22 have been rescheduled for later in the year. He said the July 165th Gibson County Fair is planned as scheduled, July 5-11.The fair office is closed for the next couple of weeks but staff are working from home and can be reached via email at events@gibsoncountyfair.com.

• University of Evansville reported spring commencement is rescheduled to take place during Homecoming weekend Sept. 19 at the Ford Center.

The rescheduled ceremony does not affect the timing or award of UE degrees.

• There is some evidence that admonitions to limit travel has produced results. A “social distancing tracker” interactive tool at unacast.com gives Indiana a B rating with a 34% reduction in travel from late February to March 21. Gibson County and Knox County distance travel reduced 35% during that time period, while Vanderburgh, Posey, Pike and Warrick County distance travel reduced by 42%. The data is viewable at https://www.unacast.com/covid19/social-dis tancing-scoreboard

Email Andrea Howe at andrea@pdclarion.com.

— Email Andrea Howe at andrea@pdclarion.com

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