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Get the latest on the global Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic as it impacts Northwest Indiana, the state, country, and globe. Bookmark this page as there will be several updates each day from Lakeshore Public Radio, IPB News, NPR, and the Associated Press.

Coronavirus: Indiana’s Surge May Not Be As Bad As Feared, Small Business Optimism Tanks

Justin Hicks
IPB News

The Indiana State Department of Health reported seven additional deaths on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 350. The state announced more than 8,000 total confirmed cases, with more than 44,000 Hoosiers tested.

Projected COVID-19 Surge In Indiana Not As Bad As Previously Feared

Indiana officials say the COVID-19 surge they’re expecting is still to come – though it shouldn’t be as bad as initially projected.

State leaders in recent weeks expected the novel coronavirus surge to hit Hoosier health care systems beginning in mid-April and lasting well into May.

Now, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box says the latest projections show the surge will hit Indianapolis in late April and the rest of the state in early May. And she says she doesn’t think it will be as bad as feared.

Gov. Eric Holcomb says he’s exploring more tweaks to the current “Stay-At-Home” order. That order expires next Monday and will likely be extended.

Indiana Small Business Owners' Optimism Drops During COVID-19 Pandemic

A survey including Indiana small businesses showed optimism tanked in March. Many owners are waiting for promised coronavirus financial relief from the federal government.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) saw the largest monthly decline in the history of its optimism survey. The drop comes after 39 months of continued growth.

NFIB Indiana State Director Barbara Quandt says information on small business loans has been moving quickly since the survey was conducted last month. April results could be significantly different depending on if and when the financial relief comes through.

Despite the drop in the most recent survey, optimism still remains above its lowest point during the Great Recession.

How Can You Help During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

There are a lot of things you can do to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading — like staying at home, washing your hands, and disinfecting surfaces in your house. But what can you do to help your community? 

Indiana Public Broadcasting compiled a list of 10 ways Hoosiers can help. We’ve also compiled a list of organizations that you can help, just follow this link to the story.

Know of an organization in your town that needs supplies, volunteers, or other assistance? You can add it to the list through this Google Form.

Warmer Weather Not Expected To Change Behavior Of Coronavirus

The hope that warmer weather will slow or kill the virus that causes COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be proving true.

“Not as of yet,” says Dr. Aaron Ermel, IU School of Medicine clinical service line leader for the Division of Infectious Diseases. “We’ve seen some increases in our local temperatures and our case rates have been relatively the same.”

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Ermel says it's hard to find evidence across the United States and even into Europe that warm weather kills the novel coronavirus.

“You have states such as Florida and Louisiana that are suffering even more than we are,” he says.

Ermel notes there could be other factors that contribute to this, like social make-up or transportation patterns. But the areas do have naturally warmer weather. He adds that other countries that are having their summer months are still seeing a pretty large number of cases as well.

All IN: COVID-19 And Indiana’s Black Community

A panel of artists, advocates, and neighborhood organizers talk about some of the unique challenges facing the black community during the COVID-19 pandemic, like access to health care, nutritious food, and good information. 

All IN also talks to an expert from the diversity department at Indiana University School of Medicine about what can be done to address these disparities.

St. Joseph County Investigates Outbreak At Long-Term Care Facility

Twenty-nine people at a long-term care facility in St. Joseph County have tested positive for COVID-19. Three people from the facility have required hospitalization.

Deputy Health Officer Mark Fox says since the cluster has been discovered, the facility has received about 160 test kits to help.

“One of our concerns has been the introduction of this virus in any congregate living setting, whether that’s a nursing home, or a homeless shelter, or the jail, any place where groups of people are living under the same roof," he says.

Fox says people at the facility experiencing symptoms have already been tested. Now they are working on testing everyone else, including staff members. There are roughly 100 residents at the facility. 

How Mental Health Professionals Are Adapting Amid Crisis

While the medical field has spent the last month adapting to tackle the novel coronavirus, mental health workers have also had to find ways to help patients during an uncertain time.

As the virus dominated national and local conversations throughout March and states around the country, including Indiana, began to see an increase in cases, it seemed like the world began to shift.

Suddenly, businesses were being ordered closed, people were being told to stay in their homes as much as possible and the whole country was feeling the effects of COVID-19.

With a health crisis like this one, there’s something else that’s sure to increase: anxiety.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

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.

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