Coronavirus: Holcomb To Extend ‘Stay-At-Home’ Order, Teachers React To Challenges
The Indiana State Department of Health reported 25 additional deaths over the weekend, bringing the state’s total to 127. The state announced a total of 4,411 confirmed cases, with more than 22,500 Hoosiers tested.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Friday he will extend the state’s “Stay-At-Home” order through April 20.
The state’s current order expires at 11:59 p.m. Monday.
“We’ve taken the two-week approach because it gives us – we’re more nimble to be able to address the executive order in its entirety,” Holcomb says.
Holcomb says he’ll announce new changes to the order Monday, which could include some of what other states have done – like limiting the number of people allowed in stores.
During the governor’s daily press conference, Indiana National Guard Adjutant General Dale Lyles announced a survey team would be visiting sites over the weekend to potentially expand hospital capacity ahead of an anticipated surge of COVID-19 cases.
State leaders from all three branches of government say local criminal justice officials should decide how to handle inmates in county jails during the COVID-19 crisis.
Gov. Eric Holcomb, Chief Justice Loretta Rush, Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) and House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) released a joint letter to local officials Friday.
That letter acknowledges the greater risk of COVID-19 spread within confined settings, including jails. And because of that risk, the state leaders say local judges, sheriffs and justice partners need to decide for themselves whether to release “low-risk, non-violent” juveniles and offenders into their communities – with supervision.
At least one county has already announced they will not be releasing inmates. Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding says while they’re monitoring the inmates at the county jail closely, right now they’re not considering releasing anyone just because of the outbreak.
“We are working very diligently on only bringing in the people we feel truly need to be incarcerated. That’s one of the best ways we’re going to control COVID-19,” Wedding says.
The ACLU of Indiana had previously asked the governor to release some jail and prison inmates at risk from COVID-19.
Abrupt school closures last month took many people by surprise, and the state announced Thursday school buildings will stay closed for the rest of the school year.
The decision announced this week was less of a shock, but teachers are still adjusting to the new reality amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Kim Barany teaches at Bedford North Lawrence High School. She says she didn't know the last time she saw her class of freshmen, it would be the last for the school year.
"It wasn't like saying goodbye the right way," she says. "It's hard to think that we didn't get that closure on this year, but of course lots of people are in this boat."
Barany says she's less concerned about grades right now and more about the well-being of her students, especially for kids facing increased pressure at home during the closures, or who might lose family members to the virus.
And with teachers all over Indiana adapting their lessons for students to learn at home, a number of questions have been raised about how to serve all students, including those without internet access or at-home supports.
Federal officials are warning Hoosiers to watch out for scams related to COVID-19 – everything from fake charities to bogus stimulus checks.
IRS Special Agent In Charge Kathy Enstrom says she expects some of those scams to increase as federal relief money gets sent to Americans.
“The IRS will not call, email or send you a message through social media asking you to sign up or verify any information in order for you to receive the economic impact payment,” Enstrom says.
Many people will get those payments directly into their bank accounts. But for those who will get paper checks from the IRS, Enstrom says to watch out for fakes.
Provisions in state law empower the governor to make and enforce orders such as “Stay-At-Home”.
Holcomb has issued more than a dozen executive orders directed at the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, he restricted restaurants and bars to carryout and delivery only, and he rescheduled Indiana’s primary election.
It was all made possible when he declared a public health emergency on March 6. That triggered provisions in state law that, among other things, empower the governor to “employ any measure” during the declared emergency to help prevent and suppress the disease.
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The CDC now recommends covering your face when you enter public places such as grocery stores or public transit stations. Proper manufactured medical masks, especially N-95 particulate masks should be saved for health care personnel.
These homemade masks will not protect you from getting COVID-19. The best way to avoid catching it is to stay home and away from other people. Health care officials advise that handmade masks will not protect the wearer, but they could keep you from spreading COVID-19 if you have it and are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.
This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.