While you were sleeping: Coronavirus updates for April 1

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

Here's a look:

Today is Census Day. It’s the date used to reference where a person lives for the once-a-decade count. But just like everything else, the coronavirus has forced changes to the census.

The U.S. Census Bureau suspended field operations for a month, from mid-March to mid-April, when the hiring process should have been ramping up for up to 500,000 temporary census takers.

The bureau also delayed the start of counts for the homeless and people living in group quarters like college dorms and nursing homes, and it has pushed back the deadline for wrapping up the head count from July to mid-August.

Today is also April, which many people call April Fools’ Day. But some companies are opting out of pranks this year. That’s because they fear it could do more harm and spread misinformation.

That includes Google. They have a longstanding tradition of pranks, but officials said this year they would refrain from their annual ritual of sharing April Fools’ Day jokes across the company’s platforms.

Instead, they want pay respect to those who are fighting COVID-19 and want to make sure they are a reliable tool for those who are looking for relevant information in the midst of the pandemic.

Other companies are taking a bit of a different approach. T-Mobile wants people to “give thanks not pranks” by expressing their gratitude to the helpers of the world and help them raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs’ COVID-19 relief fund that supports our nation’s first responders and healthcare workers.

You can do that by tweeting #givethanksnotpranks and tagging T-Mobile. You can also text thanks to 50555.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is working on a solution to process the 170,000 claims filed in the past two weeks.

The phone lines at the Department of Workforce Development have been so busy, some people are getting messages that say the line is out of service. Others complain of long wait times that take hours.

One of the biggest challenges is finding a way to confirm wages for self-employed workers, who are now eligible. The current system uses information from employers to determine that information, so those self-employed workers who have begun to file for unemployment are being denied for the time being.

There will have to be another step added in for self-employed workers, but it doesn't exist yet. Richardson says for now the best advice for those workers is to regularly check unemployment.in.gov for updates.

The Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Airport Hotel is the first off-site location for COVID-19 patients and potential patients awaiting test results in Marion County.

Sources indicate the first handful of guests was checked into the hotel last Sunday.

The plan to house Indianapolis homeless persons affected by the coronavirus was first announced last week by Indiana Family and Social Services Secretary Dr. Jennifer Sullivan.

Dr. Sullivan said the Indiana State Department of Health would take on the administration of the location while Eskenazi Health would staff the site and the Indiana National Guard would provide security.

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