Holcomb announces first COVID-19 death in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (FOX59) — Gov. Eric Holcomb says the state suffered its first death related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Holcomb made the announcement during a Monday afternoon news conference.

“A family today is suffering the ultimate loss due to COVID-19, and this sadly underscores how severe the virus can be – especially for some high-risk Hoosiers,” Gov. Holcomb said. “The state is taking unprecedented actions to slow the spread of COVID-19, and every Hoosier should follow the precautionary measures.”

The adult from Marion County died at a Community Health Network hospital on Monday morning. The person, who was over age 60, had been hospitalized as a COVID-19 patient and also suffered from underlying medical conditions. No further information will be released about the patient or the case.

“I cannot stress this enough – if you are ill, stay home. If you need to seek medical care, call ahead so that your healthcare provider can take steps to protect others from exposure to COVID-19,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “We all have a role to play to protect Hoosiers from this illness, and the time to act is now.”

Earlier in the day, Indiana become the latest state to close bars and restaurants in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Holcomb said bars, nightclubs and restaurants are required to close for in-person dining. Delivery and takeout services are still allowed through the end of March, according to the governor’s office.

Other guidance from the governor:

The state will follow guidelines from the CDC, which recommends no in-person events of more than 50 people.

Currently, 273 public school districts are closed, using e-learning days, or on spring break and plan to close. The state is working with the remaining 16 school corporations to determine their next steps.

Hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers should cancel and/or postpone elective and non-urgent procedures, a move intended to prevent those procedures from tying up the health care system.

The state raised its Emergency Operations Center to Level 1 status.

State employees have been asked to work from home when possible and hold virtual meetings. Non-essential in-person meetings will be limited to 10 people or less. Virtual meetings are encouraged.

State employees over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions should work from home.

The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites will close to the public beginning Tuesday. The Visitors Center at White River State Park will also close.

Indiana state parks and recreation centers, including state park inns, will remain open. Restaurants can offer takeout and delivery meals.

The Department of Work Force Development suspended rules requiring certain unemployment insurance claimants to physically appear at a Work One location to engage in reemployment services for the next four weeks. The agency will request flexibility to expand eligibility for claimants and ease the burden on employers.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation will postpone the inaugural Indiana Global Economic Summit, scheduled for April 26-28.

Communities are encouraged to work together to find child care options and delivery services of meals and other necessities for seniors.

Blood supplies are also low, according to the governor’s office. Hoosiers who can donate are encouraged to do so.

More information may be found at the ISDH website at https://on.in.gov/COVID19 and the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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