Gov. Holcomb says update on stay-at-home order coming soon; state touts #INthistogether campaign during briefing on coronavirus pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Gov. Eric Holcomb didn’t announce any executive action during his daily briefing Wednesday, but the governor said more action could be coming soon.

Holcomb said the next update on the stay-at-home order would come soon—perhaps as soon as Thursday—in order to give people advance notice and time to prepare.

His current order to “hunker down” goes until April 7.

“While we don’t have any new executive orders today to speak of, stay tuned. We’ll be here tomorrow and we will.”

The governor spoke at length Wednesday about a statewide campaign called #INthistogether. It’s intended to encourage Hoosiers to maintain social distancing as the state works to “flatten the curve” when it comes to COVID-19.

The campaign includes a coalition of statewide businesses and community partners. Partners include Eli Lilly and Company with prominent spokespeople like Pacers star Victor Oladipo, former Fever star Tamika Catchings, and Colts linebacker Darius Leonard.

Holcomb called social distancing the state’s most effective tool in slowing the spread during the coronavirus pandemic. The Indiana State Department of Health reported Wednesday that 65 Hoosiers have died from COVID-19 in Indiana. There are 2,565 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.

“If you take these steps seriously and do your part…we will spread our words and our actions and not spread this virus,” he said.

“We need to act now, and by doing so, we’re going to save lives.”

Holcomb said he has not been tested because there has been no reason for him to get tested. He’s practicing social distancing and said, if he started exhibiting symptoms, he would get tested.

Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks said many groups and businesses have joined together to promote the stay-at-home message during the pandemic.

The company is supplying COVID-19 tests and necessary medications. Plants are running “full time” to make sure much-needed medicine remains available. Like Holcomb, he stressed the importance of social distancing.

“The single most important thing we can do to flatten the curve is to practice social distancing together. It only works if we all do this together.”

That means staying at home unless absolutely necessary and keeping your distance from others when you’re not at home. It also means avoiding contact with people who are in the high-risk category.

“We can do this the best of any state if we come together,” Ricks said. “So the message today is, spread the word. Don’t spread the virus.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said Indiana’s testing capacity has significantly increased, thanks to partnerships with Lilly and other private labs.

There is still a finite supply of tests, Box said, but the state released new testing guidelines to include people who are sick but not in the hospital. She also said pregnant women and those with high blood pressure are considered at risk.

The state has distributed 3,000 additional testing kits to nine hospital systems around Indiana and is also working to distribute additional resources delivered by the Strategic National Stockpile. Personal protective equipment (PPE) remains in high demand for first responders and health care workers.

When asked about the mortality rate of COVID-19 in Indiana, Box said there was just not enough information regarding how widespread the coronavirus is. Without additional information, she couldn’t give accurate information.

Holcomb said the coronavirus has been confirmed in 83 of Indiana’s 92 counties. A major disaster declaration has been submitted to the federal government and is under review by the White House. The state expects to hear back soon.

“We know that this will continue to spread. We know that it will increase,” Holcomb said.

“It can infect the healthy. It can infect the young. We know that it will use you to kill others,” he said during the briefing.

He also tried to strike a hopeful note by talking about Hoosier volunteers and businesses who’ve stepped up.

“These are more than gladiators. These are life-savers,” Holcomb said of volunteers in the medical field.

“We’re gonna do this together and I just want to underscore that there is so much good going on out there. It makes me so proud.”

He also cautioned that a surge is ahead that will require Hoosiers to band together.

“As we head into this surge period, we need more togetherness. That is what is going to see us through this all.”

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