Indy Midtown Magazine has been posting regular updates about the state’s response to the public health emergency. This post archives all April, 2020 updates. View updates from March 2020 or May 2020.
UPDATED April 30 The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reports that 17,835 Hoosiers have tested presumptively positive for COVID-19. This number includes results from ISDH and results submitted by private laboratories. Approximately 94,988 tests have been administered. Additionally, ISDH notes that 1,007 Hoosiers have succumbed to the disease. All Ninety-two Indiana counties have reported cases of COVID-19. Daily updates are posted at noon to the ISDH COVID-19 online dashboard.
April 29 Update
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced the launch of BeWellIndiana.org, a website offering free resources for those experiencing anxiety, depression and other mental health issues caused by the pandemic.
In a statement, Jennifer Sullivan, M.D., M.P.H., FSSA secretary said the FSSA’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction staff curated a range of trusted resources. “We acknowledge how the fear and anxiety about the coronavirus can be overwhelming and trigger strong emotions and reactions in adults and children. Our hope is to help Hoosiers cope with that stress so that they can be better for themselves, their families and their community.”
Information on the site identifies coping mechanisms, how to self-monitor for signs of stress, domestic violence resources, substance use disorder and recovery, and tips for helping children, youth and teens. Videos featuring medical experts, persons in recovery, and other practicing Indiana clinicians addressing specific mental health topics are also available.
While the site will initially focus on the mental health challenges spurred by COVID-19, Sullivan said it will be updated regularly and continue to evolve to serve as a resource beyond the current public health emergency.
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reports that 17,182 Hoosiers have tested presumptively positive for COVID-19. This number includes results from ISDH and results submitted by private laboratories. Approximately 91,550 tests have been administered. Additionally, ISDH notes that 964 Hoosiers have succumbed to the disease. All Ninety-two Indiana counties have reported cases of COVID-19. Daily updates are posted at noon to the ISDH COVID-19 online dashboard.
April 20 Update
Governor Eric Holcomb issued a revised Stay At Home order that extends the order until 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020. [PDF] As a reminder to those who suggest he has overstepped his authority, Holcomb justifies his action by citing Indiana’s Emergency Disaster Law. Further, he cites Title 16 of Indiana Code that gives the Indiana State Department of Health the authority to forbid public gatherings to prevent and stop epidemics. Holcomb said he consulted the ISDH Commissioner State Health Commissioner Kristina Box, M.D., FACOG, who concurred with his actions to safeguard public health.
April 16 Update
Governor Eric Holcomb joined other governors from Midwestern states to announce a joint effort to reopen the economy in the Midwest. Governors include Gretchen Whitmer (MI), Mike DeWine (OH), Tony Evers (WI), Tim Walz (MN), JB Pritzker (IL), and Andy Beshear (KY).
“We look forward to working with experts and taking a fact-based, data-driven approach to reopening our economy in a way that protect families from the spread of COVID-19,” he said in a statement. He added that the group of governors will closely examine at least four factors when determining when best to reopen our economy:
- Sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations.
- Enhanced ability to test and trace.
- Sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence.
- And best practices for social distancing in the workplace.
Governor Holcomb added that phasing in sectors of the economy doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time. “Close coordination will ensure we get this right. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen, and things will go back to normal,” he said, adding, “We look forward to working together as one region to tackle this challenge together.”
April 10 Update
Governor Eric Holcomb today announced a taskforce to plan, administer and account for federal relief funds the state of Indiana receives from the CARES Act.
Indiana’s Economic Relief and Recovery Team will be chaired by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Cris Johnston and Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger.
A committee of business leaders with extensive public service background will advise the chairs:
- Becky Skillman, former lieutenant governor
- Luke Kenley, former Indiana state senator
- Al Hubbard, former economic policy advisor and director of the National Economic Council for President George W. Bush
- Ryan Kitchell, former OMB director
- Kristin Marcuccilli, Indiana Economic Development Corporation board member
According to Gov. Holcomb, Indiana expects to receive more than $3 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Use of the funds is highly restricted, hence the need for a team to manage the process. The State of Indiana is awaiting additional guidance from the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education.
Holcomb stated that the Team will help the state transition to economic activity in a safe way by adapting to post-COVID-19 economic and political conditions and learning from this experience.
Slides from the Governor’s presentation. [PDF]
April 9 Update
Today, Gov. Eric Holcomb reiterated that his executive order 20-18 issued April 6 states that all public and private gatherings, including religious and spiritual, should follow CDC guidance, which restricts gatherings to ten or fewer people. “The purpose of this guidance is not to restrict religious liberty, but to save lives during these extraordinary times,” he said during his daily briefing.
To continue safely serving their communities, faith institutions are directed as follows:
- Church buildings and other physical locations for worship should be closed.
- Livestream or other virtual services are best. The minimum number of necessary personnel should be used at all times for any services. Staff and volunteers who are not speaking should wear masks.
- Drive-in services may be conducted only under these conditions:
- Attendees must be inside vehicles at all times.
- Attendees should not interact physically with clergy, staff or participants in other vehicles.
- Vehicles should contain only members of a single household. Do not bring your neighbors or others outside of your household.
- Cars must be spaced the equivalent of every other parking spot or approximately 9 feet apart.
- No one may exit a vehicle at any time.
- Portable bathrooms are not allowed on the premises and no church facilities may be used by attendees.
- It is preferred that no communion be distributed.
- In instances when communion is distributed, only prepackaged communion may be used and must be prepared and distributed in a manner that meets food safety standards.
- The following individuals who are vulnerable and at higher risk for illness should not attend:
- Persons who are 65 years and older.
- Those who have severe underlying medical conditions, like heart or lung disease or diabetes.
- Individuals who are sick.
The CDC has provided the following guidance for the faith community.
Today Governor Eric Holcomb extended his public health emergency declaration until May 5 [PDF] and placed further restrictions on non-essential commercial operations until April 20. [PDF]
April 3 Update
Indiana has received a federal Major Disaster Declaration, Governor Eric Holcomb announced today at his daily COVID-19 briefing. Federal funds will now be available to cover costs of emergency needs including crisis counseling, food programs, temporary shelters, protective equipment, safety resources and personnel.
The Governor also extended the public health emergency to May 5. [PDF] Holcomb also announced he will extend the Stay-at-Home Order and the restrictions on bars and restaurants an additional two weeks – to April 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The executive order will be signed Monday.
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reports that 3437 Hoosiers have tested presumptively positive for COVID-19. This number includes results from ISDH and results submitted by private laboratories. Additionally, ISDH notes that 102 Hoosiers have succumbed to the disease. Eighty-five Indiana counties have reported cases of COVID-19. Daily updates will be posted at 10 a.m. to the ISDH COVID-19 online dashboard.
April 2 Update
Gov. Eric Holcomb today signed an executive order [PDF] that orders all Indiana schools to remain closed for the remainder of the school year.
While school buildings are closed, the Governor is requiring all K-12 schools in Indiana to provide instruction via remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year and outlines options for districts to continue education during the fight against COVID-19.
To complete the school year, all schools previously received a 20-day waiver to reduce the number of required in-person or remote instruction days to 160. Schools must continue to provide instruction via remote learning until they complete either:
- 160 instructional days or
- At least 20 additional days of remote learning between the date of the executive order (today) and the end of the school year. If a school completes 20 days and falls short of the required 160 instructional days, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) can waive the difference.
All K-12 schools will need to submit a plan for review and approval by IDOE by April 17. The plan can include eLearning, extended learning, project-based or portfolio learning, competency-based learning, partnerships with higher education for increased student supports, and other similar methods.
April 1 Update
Gov. Eric Holcomb launched the #INthistogether social distancing campaign at his daily press briefing on COVID-19. In support, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett released a public service announcement stressing the importance of social distancing for residents of city, one of the nation’s growing hotspots for cases of the virus. “Social distancing is the most important and effective tool we have to defeat COVID-19,” Gov. Holcomb said. “If we act now, we can save lives and then re-open our state for business, group activities, sports and the other things we enjoy doing together as Hoosiers. But we need every person to take this seriously and do their part. We are truly in this together.” Other partners include Eli Lilly & Co., Pacers Sports and Entertainment, Indiana and Purdue universities, and the Indianapolis Colts.
The #INthistogether campaign underscores the urgency of adopting key social distancing tips:
- Stay home. Right now, staying home is the best way you can help our healthcare workers and first responders. Essential businesses are still open and everyone can go to grocery stores, the pharmacy and for medical care as needed.
- Avoid close physical contact. Remember to maintain a safe distance of six feet apart and keep up healthy hygiene practices, including wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, clean and sanitize frequently, and cough or sneeze into elbow.
- If you feel sick call your physician and try to isolate yourself from others in the home.
To maintain personal and community health, it’s also important to consider the following recommendations:
- Stay connected with friends and loved ones. There are multiple ways like video conferencing, when available, that allow people to see each other on computers and smart phones. People are also encouraged to write letters and call or text people to check in and connect socially. Try to say hi to neighbors from six feet away.
- Take care of yourself. That includes your physical health and mental well-being. Staying home does not mean you can’t go for a run or walk as long as you maintain a safe physical distance. Eating well, occasionally turning off the news and a good night’s sleep are important.
- Support our community. Look for creative ways to virtually give back to your community. Call an elderly neighbor, say hi over the fence, offer virtual tutoring or donate to a community service organization.