Crusader Staff Report
Two people in Indiana have died from the novel coronavirus pandemic, as Governor Eric Holcomb signs an executive order to activate the National Guard to help slow its spread in the state.
The first death was announced on Monday, March 16. The patient who died was from Marion County, had underlying medical conditions, and had not traveled abroad. The person was over 60.
“A family today is suffering the ultimate loss due to COVID-19, and this sadly underscores how severe the virus can be – especially for some high-risk Hoosiers,” Holcomb said. “The state is taking unprecedented actions to slow the spread of COVID-19, and every Hoosier should follow the precautionary measures.”
In response to Indiana’s first coronavirus death, Senator Todd Young released the following statement:
“Today, the first fatality was reported in Indiana as a result of the coronavirus. My deepest condolences and prayers are with the family and loved ones during this difficult time. It is important that all Hoosiers continue to remain vigilant and listen to the experts. We all have an important role to play in protecting our fellow Hoosiers. Practice social distancing, look out for our elderly, and take precautions to avoid inadvertently spreading the virus. I will continue working with our federal, state, and local leaders to ensure Indiana has the necessary resources to respond.”
The second death occurred in Johnson County, but details about the person were not released by press time Wednesday.
Holcomb said Indiana will follow guidelines from the CDC, which recommends no in-person events of more than 50 people.
There are two coronavirus cases in Lake County. The Indiana State Department of Health says six new additional COVID-19 illnesses have been confirmed, giving the state 30 cases across 15 counties. The new cases involve two people, one each from Franklin, and Marion counties.
Marion County has the most coronavirus cases than any other county in Indiana. A total of 159 people have been tested for the coronavirus.
On Tuesday, March 17, Gary Mayor Jerome Prince ordered the closing of all city facilities to public traffic, and, he took other steps to protect residents and city workers from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Public safety is our top concern for our community and our region neighbors,” Mayor Prince said Tuesday. “We may not have control over this virus, but, we can control how we respond to it. That’s why I ordered the move to the more restrictive protocol.”
Governor Eric Holcomb on Monday, March 16, ordered bars, nightclubs and restaurants to close for in-person dining. Delivery and takeout services are still allowed through the end of March, according to the governor’s office
Currently, 273 public school districts are closed, using e-learning days, or are on spring break and plan to close. The state is working with the remaining 16 school districts.
Hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers should cancel and/or postpone elective and non-urgent procedures, a move intended to prevent those procedures from tying up the health care system.
The state raised its Emergency Operations Center to Level 1 status.
State employees have been asked to work from home when possible and hold virtual meetings. Non-essential in-person meetings will be limited to 10 people or less. Virtual meetings are encouraged.
State employees over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions should work from home.
The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites were closed to the public beginning Tuesday. The Visitors Center at White River State Park will also close. Indiana state parks and recreation centers, including state park inns, will remain open. Restaurants can offer takeout and delivery meals.
The Department of Work Force Development suspended rules requiring certain unemployment insurance claimants to physically appear at a Work One location to engage in reemployment services, for the next four weeks. The agency will request flexibility to expand eligibility for claimants and ease the burden on employers.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation will postpone the inaugural Indiana Global Economic Summit, scheduled for April 26-28.
Communities are encouraged to work together to find child care options and delivery services of meals and other necessities for seniors.
Blood supplies are also low, according to the governor’s office. Hoosiers who can donate are encouraged to do so.