Indiana stay-at-home order extended

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that on Monday, he will be extending his stay-at-home order and restrictions on bars and restaurants another two weeks.

That announcement, which came during Holcomb’s daily press conference Friday afternoon, extends the order through April 20.

The order was only extended by two weeks to provide the government with flexibility to change it as time goes on, the governor said.

“We’ve taken the two-week approach because we’re more nimble to be able to address the executive order and adjust based on the facts on the ground,” Holcomb said. “We can go through line by line and tweak if we need to, and we don’t need to wait a full month.”

The order means for at least the next two weeks, Hoosiers are asked to remain at least 6 feet apart from others who they don’t live with and are asked to avoid trips outside their home except to pick up needed food and supplies.

When asked about potentially adjusting the order to be more strict, Holcomb said there will be tweaks made to Monday’s updated order.

Holcomb also announced President Donald Trump had approved his request to declare a major disaster in all 92 Hoosier counties.

Steve Cox, executive director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, said this will allow the state to access more funding.

“Basically what this amounts to is Indiana receiving public assistance money to the tune of 70% of cost incurred by government entities in Indiana as a response to the COVID-19 crisis,” Cox said.

Holcomb’s declaration of a public health emergency also has been extended until May 3.

In addition to the stay-at-home order, National Guard Adjutant General R. Dale Lyles talked about the Guard taking on the responsibility of scouting potential sites where field hospitals, or “alternative care facilities,” could be located.

The Indiana State Department of Health announced Friday morning that 408 more Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 3,437. This is following a correction made to Thursday’s number.

Jackson County had six new confirmed cases, bring the number of total cases in the county to 25.

Marion County had the most new cases at 126.

A total of 102 Hoosiers have died to date. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by ISDH and they have occurred over multiple days.

Jackson County currently still has no reported deaths from the virus.

To date, 17,835 tests have been reported to ISDH, up from 16,285 on Thursday.

Seventy-seven residents of Jackson County have been reported as having been tested.

Twenty-five of those 77 Jackson County residents tested were done at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.

Schneck has tested 257 people total for the virus with 49 of those tests reported as positive and 140 negative. Sixty-seven are pending.

Of the 49 positive tests at Schneck, 18 are residents of Jennings County, and the remainder live in other nearby counties.

Also Friday, Lin Montgomery, public health coordinator for the Jackson County Health Department, talked about the department’s role in the process of informing individuals who have been in contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19.

“Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are contacted by the testing facility with the results,” she said. “Once that information is shared, the case goes to the local health department for investigations. Personnel then are provided a list of contacts who they call, report the exposure and monitor.”

She said only those who have been deemed exposed will get a phone call and further instructions about how/what they need to do.

“Not everyone around the positive person necessarily needs to worry,” Montgomery said. “This is a process regulated by ISDH, not the local health department.

“Unfortunately, the testing takes time, getting the results back takes time, contacting everyone involved takes time. Although we encourage people to treat others like they have it (in order to encourage social distancing), not everyone exposed will contract it. Even if they do, most people have mild symptoms. It is those with underlying health issues who are most at risk.”