COVID-19 updates: Indiana officials share information; automakers extend shutdowns

Holcomb addresses media on March 26

We will be providing updates throughout the day in this story.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — New COVID-19 numbers have been released by the Indiana State Department of Health.

ISDH says 645 Hoosiers have now tested positive for the virus, up from 477 in Wednesday’s report. Three more Hoosiers died, bringing the state’s total to 17.

ISDH says 4,651 people have been tested in Indiana.

ISDH has not released numbers regarding recoveries in Indiana.

According to this tracker by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, more than 487,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with more than 22,000 deaths and more than 117,000 recoveries.

County-by-county numbers, according to ISDH

  • Adams – 1
  • Allen – 8, including one death
  • Bartholomew – 6
  • Boone – 7
  • Brown – 1
  • Clark – 10
  • Dearborn – 3
  • Decatur – 13
  • DeKalb – 1
  • Delaware – 7, including one death
  • Dubois – 1
  • Elkhart – 7
  • Fayette – 3
  • Floyd – 7
  • Fountain – 1
  • Franklin – 13, including one death
  • Gibson – 3
  • Grant – 3
  • Hamilton – 40
  • Hancock – 9, including one death
  • Harrison – 2
  • Hendricks – 21
  • Howard – 6, including one death
  • Jackson – 2
  • Jasper – 3, including one death
  • Jennings – 4
  • Johnson – 36, including three deaths
  • Lake – 31
  • LaPorte – 2
  • Lawrence – 2
  • Madison – 4
  • Marion – 293, including six deaths
  • Marshall – 1
  • Miami – 1
  • Monroe – 6
  • Montgomery – 2
  • Morgan – 7
  • Noble – 1
  • Ohio – 1
  • Orange – 1
  • Owen – 4
  • Porter – 5
  • Posey – 1
  • Putnam – 2, including one death
  • Ripley – 11
  • Rush – 1
  • Scott – 1, including one death
  • Shelby – 2
  • St. Joseph – 21
  • Starke – 1
  • Sullivan – 1
  • Tippecanoe – 7
  • Tipton – 2
  • Vanderburgh – 4
  • Vigo – 3
  • Warren – 1
  • Warrick – 3
  • Washington – 3
  • Wayne – 1
  • Wells – 1

UPDATE 6:45 p.m.

IndyGo is suspending fares and changing their ride schedules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following changes will be effective Sunday, March 29:

  • IndyGo riders will be required to board through the vehicle’s rear entrance. Accommodations for riders in need of the wheelchair-accessible ramp will continue to be made at the front door. 
  • All transit fares will be suspended, eliminating the need for interaction at the farebox. 
  • The Retail Desk at the Carson Transit Center will be closed while fare collection is suspended. 
  • IndyGo will operate on a Saturday schedule six days of the week (Monday – Saturday). 
  • Sunday service will remain as scheduled.   
  • Open Door will limit capacity to one rider per row of the vehicle. 

UPDATE 5:42 p.m.

Pike Township Schools announced Thursday that during next week’s spring break, curbside meal pick up will be available at College Park Elementary School, Guion Creek Elementary School, Eastbrook Elementary School, Deer Run Elementary School, and the Pike Freshman Center from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday. Thursday’s schedule will be announced on Monday.

Also, the Pike Red Zone Food Pantry, at the Pike Freshman Center, will be open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and April 3.

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.

Carmel’s mayor Thursday issued an order for all golf courses to close although Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb had made an exception in his “stay at home” order to keep them open.

UPDATE 4:41 p.m.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a new executive order to try to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

  • The Department of Workforce Development has suspended the one-week waiting period that is required before paying unemployment benefits to allow claimants to receive their checks more quickly. The suspension is retroactive to March 8.
  • Hoosiers with chronic health issues can receive a 90-day supply of their noncontrolled prescription medication, such as insulin or cholesterol medications.
  • Medicaid recipients can use their benefits to cover costs of using alternate forms of transportation, such as ride-sharing services, for appointments to see their health care providers.
  • The Family and Social Services Administration has additional funding flexibility to allow for additional home delivery of meals.
  • The Department of Local Government Finance has extended deadlines related to local government finances.

UPDATE 4:52 p.m.

Toyota says it is extending its production shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The manufacturing facilities will remain closed through April 17 and production will resume on April 20.

UPDATE 4:51 p.m.

Inside INdiana Business reports Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is joining the list of automakers that are extending their previously announced production suspensions due to the coronavirus. Facilities including ones in Kokomo and Tipton will remain closed until at least April 14.

UPDATE 4:47 p.m.

Indiana Department of Insurance issued a request that the state’s insurance companies and HMOs institute a moratorium on policy cancellations and nonrenewals.

UPDATE 4:39 p.m.

The board of Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library in Zionsville has decided to keep the facility closed through May 1.

UPDATE 3:54 p.m.

News 8’s Olivia Ray, listening to a midafternoon news conference with Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials, reports the steps IMS used to rescheduled the Indianapolis 500 to Aug. 23:

  • The main priority was to find a way to have the Indy 500.
  • Giving fans time to plan so they could attend in August.
  • Working with NASCAR rescheduling.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials also said they will not change the TV blackout, so the rescheduled race will not air on TV in central Indiana.

UPDATE 3:44 p.m.

Here are highlights of the state’s coronavirus news conference on Thursday:

  • Gov. Eric Holcomb says he will listen to “the folks who are on the ground in Indiana” before deciding to extend “stay at home” orders beyond 11:59 p.m. April 6.
  • Health commissioner Dr. Kris Box says people gathering in groups need to socially distance even during activities outside in the warmer weather.
  • Box says every facility needs to have a plan in place to handle COVID-19 cases.
  • Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said nine cases of motorists being stopped on the road during “stay at home” rules have not yet been confirmed. He says law-enforcement officers cannot stop motorists to ask the reasons they are on the road. He’s talked with other police agencies about this.
  • Holcomb says the “nonessential” business closures are working and he encourages social distancing for people still on the job. For “essential” businesses, he said, “This is not encouragement to break the rules.”
  • Holcomb says U.S. governors will be addressing issues being faced by people who live in one state and work in another during varying “stay at home” orders.
  • Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says 62,777 new unemployment filings were made in the most recent week recorded. He said its call center will respond to inquiries, but he encouraged people to check its website first because the call center system is being taxed.
  • Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says people who file for unemployment benefit will have to wait about 21 days to see a check.
  • Cris Johnston of Indiana Office of Management & Budget says state’s reserve cash is beginning to be used. He says April income report will be first significant signal of things to come regarding state’s financial resources. He says the state expects a revenue impact from closed casinos and gaming.
  • Holcomb said the change to new Real ID licenses, under the latest federal relief plan, has been pushed back to September 2021. The more secure licenses had been set to start Oct. 1.
  • Holcomb says about the decision to delay the Indianapolis 500 to Aug. 23 that it’s not his place to second-guess Roger Penske’s announcement. He’s glad to see the delay.
  • Holcomb says the state has no plans at this time to help other parts of the country dealing with higher rates of COVID-19 cases.

UPDATE 1:51 p.m.

The Indianapolis 500 has been postponed.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway made the announcement that the race would be moved to Aug. 23.

All Month of May concerts have been canceled.

UPDATE 12:59 p.m.

The Johnson County Health Department said on Thursday that seven residents at a Franklin long-term care facility have tested positive COVID-19.

The department says they are working with the Indiana State Department of Health in order to confirm that proper protocols are put in place to further limit the spread.

UPDATE 12:15 p.m.

The City of Indianapolis has added more tools to the city’s COVID-19 section of its website.

The site aims to connect “individuals, businesses, and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with community resources.”

The site now contains additional pages and a Spanish-language version of the resource guide.

UPDATE 11:38 a.m.

Carmel has announced they are closing the Monon Greenway sections of the Monon Trail and Midtown Plaza in response to COVID-19.

The said that effective immediately the Monon Greenway between Main Street and Gradle Grave and Midtown Plaza will be closed.

“I ask for trail users to please practice social distancing on the remaining 230 miles of trails and paths we have in Carmel so that those can remain open. It is so important to our mental health to get out and enjoy the fresh air, but we must do so responsibly,” said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

UPDATE 11:07 a.m.

The City of Noblesville announced that a Noblesvile fire official has tested positive for COVID-19.

The mayor Noblesville put of the following statement:

“This morning our office was informed that a Noblesville fire official has tested positive for COVID-19,” said Mayor Chris Jensen. “We are working with local officials to ensure anyone who may have been in close contact with this person is notified. We are confident that our public safety and operational officials are taking appropriate action as we work to manage this evolving public health situation.”

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 26: 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.

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