While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for October 1

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic that you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

School dashboard launching. State officials released a new online tool designed to help track coronavirus cases in Indiana schools.

Health officials said the dashboard will reflect the new and cumulative numbers of positive COVID-19 cases among students, teachers and other workers in a given school. An early look at the data during Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s weekly coronavirus briefing Wednesday afternoon reflects at least 2,354 positive COVID-19 cases in schools around the state since the new school year started this fall.

With data submitted from roughly half Indiana’s state’s schools so far, 742 schools have reported one or more cases, and 617 have reported no cases. Students make up the majority of the reported cases, with 1,676 cases, with another 335 cases reported among the state’s teachers and 343 cases in other staff members.

The full dashboard will be available on the state health department’s website, and data will then be updated each week. Schools reporting fewer than five positive cases will have their data suppressed to protect privacy.

Voting safety. Next Tuesday Hoosiers will be able vote for president when early voting kicks off.

Polling locations are already gearing up to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Hamilton County is learning from their experience during the primaries. The election board says they now have enough masks and gloves for both poll workers and voters.

While masks can’t be forced upon voters, the election board is encouraging it to keep people safe. All their poll pads and machines will be routinely sanitized with a special cleaning solution.

“They will be wiping those down as much as they can,” said Beth Sheller, election administrator for Hamilton County. “If we have voters in line, not saying they are going to wipe them down every single time, but they are going to keep it as sanitary as possible.”

Sheller is still expecting polling locations to be busy, despite seeing a record number of mail-in ballots.

Stimulus update. The U.S. House of Representatives did not vote on a stimulus bill Wednesday night as originally planned, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the two sides reached an agreement on direct payments to Americans if there is a deal.

Mnuchin said on Fox Business Network that the Trump administration would not accept Democrats’ proposal for a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package, and indicated he wanted a deal closer to $1.5 trillion.

“We’re not going to do a $2.2 trillion deal,” Mnuchin said.

Asked if a compromise of $1.5 trillion would be acceptable, Mnuchin said: “It’s in that neighborhood.”

The Democratic-controlled House was originally expected to vote Wednesday night on a partisan $2.2 trillion virus relief bill that is strongly opposed by Republicans.

This comes after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Mnuchin met on Capitol Hill Wednesday to negotiate the next aid package. They are delaying to hopefully continue negotiations, sources confirmed to NewsNation.

“The House will be proceeding with our vote tonight on the updated #HeroesAct in order to formalize our proffer to Republicans in the negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country,” Pelosi had said on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

CDC eviction moratorium. Rent is due Thursday and small claims courts in Marion County are still receiving several eviction filings. However, a new declaration by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control could prevent an eviction.

“Today (Wednesday) there were 32 filings in small claims courts in Marion County. You can estimate probably 90 percent of those or so are eviction cases,” said Chase Haller, staff attorney and director of housing and consumer justice for Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic.

Haller says each day adds more filings since Indiana ended its eviction moratorium. However, the new declaration by the CDC is helping residents who can’t pay.

“It allows a longer time for the landlords and the tenants to work out the discrepancy,” said Kathleen Crebo, landlord attorney for Hocker & Associates LLC.

The tenant has to fill out a declaration form and submit it to their landlord. That protects the renter from getting evicted and means the landlord can accept some payments for the upkeep of the home.

“The landlord or the owner of the building would still make payments to keep up the building. Whether there’s an underlying mortgage on the parcel, the landlord is still required to make those payments to maintain the structure or maintain the residents,” said Crebo.

Before the declaration, if a landlord filed for eviction, they wouldn’t be able to accept any payments or the case would be dismissed. That’s not the case this time around.

For those still trying to pay rent there are other options available if you call 211.

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