For the second day in a row, Jackson County reported no new cases of COVID-19.
According to numbers released by the Indiana State Department of Health on Tuesday, the county’s number of confirmed cases remains at 70. That includes those who were tested outside of Jackson County.
Statewide, 313 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and private laboratories.
That brings to 8,527 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus.
A total of 387 Hoosiers have died to date, up 37 from Monday. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by ISDH and occurred over multiple days.
Jackson County still has yet to report a death related to the virus.
To date, 46,017 tests have been reported to ISDH, up from 44,539 on Monday.
A total of 294 residents of Jackson County have been reported as tested. That’s an increase of 22 from Monday.
Schneck Medical Center in Seymour has tested 581 patients and has had 113 positive tests, 332 negative, 133 are still pending and three came back as insufficient samples. Of Schneck’s positive tests, 63 are from Jackson County, 30 are from Jennings, 10 from Scott, five from Washington, two from Bartholomew, one from Lawrence, one from Jefferson and one from Brown.
Dr. Eric Fish, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Schneck, said nationally, numbers of new positive COVID-19 cases continue to increase. There are 582,634 reported positive cases in the United States with 23,649 deaths.
During a teleconference news briefing Tuesday afternoon, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state is in a key stretch the next five or six days.
“We are flattening the curve. We are slowing the spread. It’s making a difference,” he said. “We are looking right at that surge and trying to suppress it, and your efforts are paying off. It’s not just in saving lives but allowing us to take care of those in need.”
It’s key, however, not to “prematurely loosen up” over the next week, Holcomb said.
“We’re on the right road to recovery right now, but we’re not going to pull up too soon,” he said. “We’re looking at the whole big picture of the state of Indiana, and we have determined this is a critically important week for us, and we need to finish it strong. We’ll march forward together as a state.”
Dr. Kristina Box, commissioner of the state health department, said long-term care facilities are the biggest concern right now.
She issued an order to allow them to transfer, transport or relocate patients and help them be able to cohort residents to keep them away from those positive with the virus or develop COVID-dedicated units.
“Both of these approaches are scientifically sound and cannot only protect them from getting (the virus) but improve the quality of life for those tested positive,” Box said.
Cohorts also better protect health care providers in those facilities, and Box said the state is ensuring they have the needed personal protective equipment and also are able to be tested for the virus.
Box also discussed the drive-thru clinics that have opened in Sellersburg, Evansville, Fort Wayne and Gary to allow symptomatic health care workers, first responders and essential workers to be tested for the virus. As of Tuesday, 465 people had been tested.
Today, she said the testing would be expanded to anyone in the same household as the health care workers, first responders and essential workers who are symptomatic or sick. Anyone else at a higher risk for the virus because of age, weight or an underlying health condition should get tested if they are symptomatic, Box said.
U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, also participated in the news briefing. He said the federal government has passed three important bills that will positively impact hospitals, employees and employers.
He said payments through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act are starting to go out this week. Some people will receive them via direct deposit into their bank account, while others will receive a check in the mail within the next two to three weeks.
Young also said the Employer Paycheck Protection Program is up and running with the Small Business Administration offering small business loans to keep employees attached to the workforce and help with fixed costs.
“We want those businesses to be around on the back end of this,” he said. “We also want to make our employers whole. We want to make sure we take care of our health care workers as well as those who are on the frontlines of this fight.”
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program also has been beefed up with Indiana experiencing a volume of unemployment applications it has never experienced before, Young said.
Young encourages people to visit young.senate.gov/coronavirus for information about any of the federal programs.
He also praised Hoosiers for practicing social distancing to help flatten the curve.
“The recent weeks have been inspiring to me as I see the neighborliness of Hoosiers during this difficult time as they reach out to one antoher in need,” Young said. “I feel the solidarity of one Hoosier reaching out to another and doing whatever they can to be of assistance.”