INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana Governor Holcomb announced on Friday the extension of the state’s stay-at-home order by another two weeks. It now goes through April 20 at 11:59 p.m.
During his daily COVID-19 briefing, Holcomb said Indiana’s public health emergency has been extended through May 3.
Holcomb said “our message is one of hope and help,” and announced President Trump has approved the request of Indiana’s disaster declaration.
The disaster declaration means local communities will be able to get more funds for crisis counseling, food programs, temporary shelters, protective equipment, safety resources and personnel.
State Health Commissioner Kristina Box recounted the state’s current coronavirus numbers, and reported a “crude” mortality rate of 2.9%. Box said Indiana has only done targeted testing, often times to only people that are hospitalized.
Box also said those who have died have also had other underlying conditions, and that Indiana is also seeing deaths occur in younger individuals. She also stated that as we prepare for the peak in surge, the National Guard will play a critical role.
A National Guard spokesperson talked about surge planning efforts, including the assessment of care facilities. Meaning, the National Guard is looking at establishing hospitals in large facilities, though no specific locations have been determined.
Dr. Jennifer Sullivan with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration said “211” normally receives 1000 calls a day, is now getting 25,000 calls a day, many related to suicide and mental health.
Sullivan said “there will be a recovery,” and that using telehealth for mental health services is crucial at this time. She added that if you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, please seek help.
Holcomb said hearing the state’s latest fatality numbers is another blunt reminder of why we are taking all the necessary steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
The past 24 hours saw Indiana’s highest number of deaths so far in a daily cycle. Holcomb said 24 families are still grieving, in addition to the 78 families that were already.
“It’s a signal that we are the start of the surge – but just the start when you look at those charts and the slope,” Holcomb explained.
The governor said it is incredibly important that we each taking care of one another, “those who we love and those who we never met. We are all in this together.”
Holcomb said Thursday that Indiana schools would close for the rest of the academic year. He said more executive action would be announced Friday, with many expecting him to extend the state’s stay-at-home order, which is set to expire April 7.
The governor and state officials have been holding daily briefings via video conferencing and encouraging Hoosiers to engage in social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.