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Live updates: Carmel mayor calls for no unnecessary travel, closes playgrounds

Recap from News 8 special “Coping with Coronavirus”

Video with this story is a replay of the News 8 health special, “Coping with Coronavirus” from Wednesday night.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Nine more cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Indiana.

The Indiana State Department of Health has been issuing daily updates at 10 a.m.

Indiana’s total number of positive cases now stands at 39. A total of 34 tests were conducted on Tuesday.

Two deaths have occurred in Indiana.

Clark, Fayette, Jennings and Madison counties reported their first cases. Hamilton, Hendricks, Lake and Marion counties now have additional cases.

County-by-county breakdown of positive cases:

  • Adams – 1
  • Bartholomew – 1
  • Boone – 1
  • Clark – 1
  • Fayette – 1
  • Floyd – 1
  • Franklin – 2
  • Hamilton – 2
  • Hendricks – 4
  • Howard – 2
  • Jennings – 1
  • Johnson – 3, including one death
  • Lake – 3
  • LaPorte – 1
  • Madison – 1
  • Marion – 11, including one death
  • Noble – 1
  • St. Joseph – 1
  • Wells – 1

Update 10:56 p.m.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard in a YouTube video has issued new orders to end unnecessary travel in the Hamilton County city, close all public playgrounds, and advise local businesses including workout facilities and banks to adjust their practices.

Here is the entire news release from the city:

“CARMEL, IN – Mayor Jim Brainard is signing a new order today declaring a local disaster emergency, prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the new orders, an end to unnecessary travel, the closure of all Carmel public playgrounds and an advisory to local work-out facilities to close and for banks to remain open, but only with ATM and drive-thru services.

“‘I realize that the steps we are taking are difficult for local business owners and residents, but we must act quickly and we must act now to prevent the further spread of this deadly virus that has brought much pain and death to China and European countries and is threatening to do the same here in the United States of America,’ said Mayor Brainard. ‘The pain we are experiencing today is nowhere near the pain we will most certainly experience if we sit back and do nothing. I urge all Carmel residents to join me in fighting this virus.’

“Effective today, Wednesday, March 18 beginning at 7 p.m., travel in the city of Carmel is only permitted for the following reasons: Medical reasons, providing care to one who you’re the primary caregiver for, mandatory work activities, food, groceries, medication, essential household goods, and hygiene products. This restriction does not impact travel related to food delivery or the resupply of retail stores, pharmacies, and food pantries.

“Here are the details:

“Effective 7 p.m. on March 18. 2020:

“– A ‘Watch’ travel advisory for the declared emergency is in effect within the corporate limits of the City of Carmel. Under this advisory, only essential travel is permitted and all non-essential travel should be avoided. This advisory does not affect travel in Carmel for the following purposes: (1) travel relating to medical care or diagnostic testing for oneself or another; (2) travel required to provide care to another for whom the traveler is a primary caregiver; (3) travel for mandatory employment activities; (4) travel required to obtain fuel, food, groceries, medication, or essential household goods and personal hygiene products; (5) travel relating to food delivery or to the resupply of retail stores, pharmacies, or food pantries; (6) travel for recreational purposes where the driver and passengers do not leave the vehicle; or, (7) travel by individuals engaged in employment needed to restore utility service or provide any other emergency public service.

“– All employers within the City of Carmel are strongly encouraged to allow for teleworking arrangements to the maximum extent possible to minimize the amount of mandatory work travel.

“– All businesses, schools, government agencies, and other organizations located within the City of Carmel should implement their emergency action plans.

“– All public playgrounds located within the City of Carmel shall be closed. All trails and multi-use paths shall remain open and walking or bicycling thereon, as well as in public parks, is both permitted and encouraged.

“– All gyms and workout facilities located within the City of Carmel should offer only individual “one trainer-one guest” sessions.

“– All banks, credit unions, and investment services located within the City of Carmel should offer only drive-up, ATM, or “one financial advisor-one client” sessions.

“– All hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers located within the City of Carmel should postpone all elective and non-emergency surgical procedures in accordance with and subject to Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-04.

“– All retail businesses located within the City of Carmel whose facilities have drive-up capabilities should require customers to use this drive-up service only.

“– All bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and other establishments that provide in-dining services within the City of Carmel must close their operations to in-person patrons and provide drive-thru, take-out, and delivery services only, in accordance with and subject to Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-04.

“This Declaration will be in effect until a further declaration is issued or as determined by the Mayor of the City of Carmel.”

Update 10:23 p.m.

Menards says all its stores are changing their hours to start additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures. They will be open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.

Update 9:23 p.m.

Avon officials say they are closing town hall and the police station until April 6. All but public safety staff will work from home. Building permit submissions and building inspections will be by appointment.

Update 8:56 p.m.

The commissioners of Blackford County decided to close public offices beginning Wednesday. The decision will be re-evaluated on March 30.

Update 8:05 p.m.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Indiana small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the coronavirus. Deadline to apply for is Dec. 18.

Customer service representatives will be available at (800) 659-2955 to answer questions about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process.

The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for private nonprofit organizations is 2.75%. The Small Business Administration offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years, and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Update 6:27 p.m.

Experts on News 8’s special “Coping with Coronavirus” answered viewers’ questions on coronavirus.

“There are some vulnerable people in our population, so I agree that it’s important for social distancing,” said Dr. Graham Carlos, associate professor of clinical medicine at IU School of Medicine and chief of internal medicine at Eskenazi Health.

“There are likely a number of cases we haven’t identified,” said Dr. Virgina Caine, Marion County Public Health director. “The flu and coronavirus can mimic each other.”

Dr. Paul Yeleti, chief physicians at Community Health Network, said, “One of the differences between coronavirus and influenza is coronavirus can be a lot more contagious. You need to wait until you are symptom free for at least 48 hours.”

Paul Babcock, director of the Indiana Office of Public Health, said “We’re hoping that were able to mitigate the problems that occur because of the restrictions, but we want to keep everyone healthy and safe.”

“We are watching, we are listening carefully to health officials,” said Aleesia Johnson, the leader of Indianapolis Public Schools. “School districts are well-equipped to deal with online learning. We’ve developed resources for at home learning.”

The show was livestreamed on this page, and will be posted on this page after the show.

Update 5:43 p.m.

Johnson County Community Foundation, in partnership with school district, has created a fundraising campaign to help provide financial assistance to causes such as feeding youths with food insecurities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update 5:11 p.m.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is asking the public to report suspected violations of the city’s COVID-19 restrictions.

People are asked to email eocmanager@indy.gov and provide as many details as possible.

IMPD said in a Facebook post that the city and the state have implemented restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Bars and restaurants are carry-out only; bars that don’t serve food are closed.
  • Gyms and fitness centers are closed.
  • Entertainment venues are closed.
  • Gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.

Update 5:10 p.m.

Indiana Department of Workforce Development will host webinars for Hoosiers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 30-minute programs at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. March 25 will cover unemployment eligibility, benefits, frequent questions and how to apply for benefits.

Update 4:05 p.m.

Tippecanoe County Health Department announced Wednesday that a resident of the county is presumptive positive for COVID-19. The resident, who began showing symptoms while spending time in Florida, has been hospitalized in Florida.

Additional samples will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.

The department said it is working closely with the Indiana State Department of Health, the Orange County Department of Health and the hospital the patient is currently in. An investigation to determine who may have come in contact with the patient is underway.

Update 3:40 p.m.

Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Lilly labs will analyze samples taken in Indiana health care facilities including nursing homes and emergency rooms.

The goal is to expand Indiana Department of Health’s ability to conduct coronavirus testing and provide timely diagnoses. Through 10 a.m. Wednesday, the state had conducted 193 tests and 39 positive cases had been identified.

Update 3:18 p.m.

The 500 Festival announced Wednesday it is suspending all planned, in-person events scheduled through May 9.

The following events will either be virtual, rescheduled or canceled:

  • OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K (May 2) – All 2020 Indy Mini events will move to virtual races. Individuals registered for this year’s races will receive details on how to participate virtually and still earn their 2020 shirt and medal. Other options, including lending a hand in support of the 500 Festival’s free programs for kids or rolling registration over to next year, will be communicated to participants in the coming days. The in-person events will NOT take place.
  • 500 Festival Kick Off to May, presented by STAR Bank (April 29) – The in-person event will NOT take place. There will be an announcement soon regarding ways the community can participate virtually. 
  • Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and Rookie Run (May 9) – The in-person event will NOT take place. We will reschedule this event to another date as guidance related to public events is provided.
  • 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo (April 30 & May 1) – The in-person event will NOT take place. Virtual goodie bags will be sent to participants.
  • All 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program Study Trips at IMS (April 2020) – All in-person events will NOT take place. Schools will be mailed some additional materials.
  • This list is in addition to the other 500 Festival event cancelations that were announced last week

“The 500 Festival recognizes the unique and challenging times that we are all facing together. May will certainly look different than the last 60+ years but with options to participate virtually or to reschedule some events to a future date we are confident that the future looks bright and the things we hold dearly will continue albeit in a different form,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival, in a release to News 8. “As a community nonprofit organization, the 500 Festival looks forward to providing events and programs that enrich lives, foster positive community impact and celebrate the Indy 500. To our participants, volunteers, interns, corporate and civic partners – Thank you for your support!”

The 2020 races will be moved to virtual runs. Additional updates will be posted to the 500 Festival and Indy Mini websites.

Update 1:50 p.m.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department announced Wednesday it was closing district roll call lobbies and the Citizens Services Desk at the City-County Building, effective immediately. The department says the closure is in an effort to mitigate officer exposure to COVID-19.

The department says it has implemented the following protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Suspending the ride-along program until June
  • Suspending in-service training at the IMPD Training Academy
  • Canceling all non-essential travel
  • Ensuring all officers have access to PPE
  • Issuing hand sanitizer to employees
  • Encouraging officers to practice social distancing on runs, when possible

Update 11:34 a.m.

An earlier version of this story stated that the City of Noblesville claimed a positive case occurred in Noblesville. Just over an hour later, city officials said they no longer believe that to be true.

Update 10:43 a.m.

The Town of Brownsburg is closing town offices to the public.

Town hall, the parks administrative office and field offices will be closed until April 13.

Workers will still report and “essential services will continue to be delivered,” the town said in a statement.

More info from Brownsburg can be found here.

Update 10:54 a.m.

Honda announced the suspension of production for all plants, including Honda Manufacturing of Indiana in Greensburg. The company plans to pay workers in full until production resumes on March 31.

Timeline of coronavirus in Indiana

  • March 6: Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirms the first case in Indiana. Officials say the Marion County resident had recently traveled to Boston to attend a BioGen conference as a contractor.
  • March 8: ISDH confirms a second case. An adult in Hendricks County who had also traveled to the BioGen conference was placed in isolation. Noblesville Schools announces that a parent and that parent’s children will be self-quarantining after attending an out-of-state event where someone else tested positive.
  • March 9: ISDH’s total of positive cases rises to 4. Avon Community School Corp. had announced on March 8 that a student tested positive; that case, along with another in Noble County, was confirmed by state health officials at a news conference.
  • March 10: ISDH’s total of positive cases rises to 6 as the state launches an online tracker. Purdue and Indiana universities suspend classes for two weeks beyond their spring breaks. Ball State University basketball fans learn the Mid-American Conference tourney will have no fans in the stands. Three businesses operating nursing homes in Indiana announce they will no longer allow visitors.
  • March 11: ISDH confirms four more positive cases in Indiana. The University of Indianapolis announces it will extend its ongoing spring break through March 22. The Indianapolis-based NCAA announces the men’s and women’s Final Four basketball tournaments will be conducted with essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big Ten announces all sports events, including the men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will have no fans starting March 12. Ball State University announces classes are suspended for the rest of the spring semester. NBA suspends all games, including the Indiana Pacers, until further notice. Butler University extends its spring break, after which it will go to virtual classes.
  • March 12: ISDH’s total of positive cases rises 12. Taylor University cancels international and domestic spring break trips for students and faculty sponsors. Indianapolis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled. Gov. Eric Holcomb announces new protections that led to extended public school closings and the cancellation of large events across the state. The league including the Indy Fuel hockey team suspends its season. Indy Eleven says it will reschedule four matches, including its April 4 home opener. The NCAA cancels the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The Big Ten suspends all sporting events through the winter and spring seasons.
  • March 13: Gov. Holcomb announces additional actions — they included eliminating Medicaid co-pays for COVID-19 testing and lifting regulations limiting the number of work hours per day for drivers of commercial vehicles — to help stop the coronavirus. Wayzata Home Products, a Connersville cabinet maker, shut down and lays off its entire workforce due to market uncertainty associated with the coronavirus. The Indiana High School Athletic Association postpones the boys basketball tournament. Franklin College says it will have no in-person classes March 16 and 17, start online classes March 18 through at least April 5 and empty residence halls of students by 5 p.m. March 15. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis says it will be closed March 14-28. The Indianapolis Public Library joins other libraries across Indiana and says it will close all facilities until further notice beginning at 5 p.m. March 14.
  • March 14: ISDH’s total number of positive cases rises to 15. The Indiana Gaming Commission says all licensed gaming and racing operations will close 14 days starting March 16.
  • March 15: ISDH’s total number of positive cases rises to 19, with 121 tested. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis announces all elective, non-urgent surgeries are canceled as of Tuesday.
  • March 16: Gov. Eric Holcomb announces the first Hoosier death. ISDH’s total number of positive cases rises to 24. Holcomb closes bars, restaurants and nightlubs to in-person patrons, while carryout and delivery services will still be allowed.
  • March 17: ISDH announces the second Hoosier death. Indiana’s Catholic bishops announce the cancellation of Sunday and weekday public masses. Gov. Holcomb activates the National Guard to assist as needed with the virus response. Purdue, Butler and Indiana State universities cancel May commencement ceremonies.
  • March 18: ISDH’s total number of positive cases rises to 39. Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The 500 Festival announces suspends all planned, in-person events scheduled through May 9. Simon Property Group closes all malls and retail properties until March 29.
  • March 19: ISDH’s total number of positive cases rises to 56. Gov. Holcomb extends Indiana’s state of emergency into May. Holcomb says all K-12 public schools will be closed until May 1 and nonpublic schools also are to close. Standardized testing was canceled. The state’s income-tax and corporate-tax payment deadline was extended to July 15. Holcomb says the state will waive job search requirements for people applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament was canceled. The Marion County Emergency Operations Center upgrades to Level 1 status.
  • March 20: ISDH reports the third Hoosier death and 23 new cases for a total of 79. Gov. Holcomb moves the state’s primary election to June 2. Indiana University says it is postponing May commencement ceremonies on all campuses. Indiana University Health says it can do limited virus testing.
  • March 21: ISDH reports the fourth Hoosier death, and 47 new cases positive for a total of 126. A total of 833 people have been tested for the virus. Indiana National Guard details how it’s working with the Department of Transportation on distribution of medical supplies to hospitals.
  • March 22: Indiana’s death toll rises to 7. ISDH reports 75 more positive cases.
  • March 23: ISDH reports 259 cases of COVID-19, up from 201 a day earlier. Gov. Holcomb orders Hoosiers deemed nonessential to “stay at home” from March 24-April 7. Eli Lilly & Co. begins drive-thru testing for the coronavirus for health care workers with a doctor’s order. Ball State University cancels the May commencement.
  • March 24: Indiana’s death toll rises to 13. Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says any Hoosiers out of work, including temporary layoffs, are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
  • March 25: Indiana’s death toll rises 17. Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Indianapolis 500 is moved to Aug. 23. IndyGo suspends fares and changes its ride schedules.
  • March 27: Indiana’s death toll rises to 25. Marion County adds 192 new positive COVID-19 cases, the most of any county in the state for the day, for a total of 484. Indiana has 981 confirmed cases.
  • March 28: Indiana’s death toll rises to 31. Marion County adds 100 new cases, the most of any county in the state, for a total of 584. Indiana has 1,232 confirmed cases.
  • March 29: Indiana’s death toll rises to 32. Marion County adds 92 new positive cases, the most of any county in the state, for a total 676. Indiana has 1,514 confirmed cases. President Donald Trump announces in a press conference that the national social distancing recommendation will be extended by 30 days, to end April 30.
  • March 30: Indiana’s death toll rises to 35. Marion County had the most new cases in the state with 135, for a total of 804. Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kris Box predicted the arrival of the surge in cases and deaths could come in mid-April to late April, but could be as late as mid-May, “but we don’t know.”
  • March 31: Indiana’s death toll rises to 49. Gov. Holcomb extends the limits of bars and restaurants to offer only “to go” and “carry out” through April 6. Health commissioner Box, asked about when Indiana will be in a surge of COVID-19 cases, says she thinks the surge is starting.
  • April 1: Indiana’s death toll rises to 65. Officials extend Marion County’s “stay at home” order through May 1. Marion County health officials say they will start COVID-19 testing services for frontline employees.The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis says it will remain closed until further notice. Gov. Holcomb announces the #InThisTogether campaign.
  • April 2: Indiana’s death toll rises to 78. The state announces K-12 schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. The Indiana High School Athletic Association cancels spring sports seasons.
  • April 3: Indiana’s death toll rises to 102. Gov. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through May 3. Indiana officials say the state has received a federal Major Disaster Declaration for all 92 counties. The Indiana National Guard says it, the Army Corps of Engineers and state health officials will begin on Saturday to assess sites for alternate health care facilities.

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