Why a treatment used for over a century on diseases like measles, mumps and influenza could work to treat the new coronavirus strain.
Indiana’s more than 1 million K-12 students will finish the school year from home.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick on Thursday directed all schools to remain closed through the end of current school year in response to the continuing spread of COVID-19.
Several weeks ago, there had been hope that students may be able to return for the final weeks of the spring semester — with most schools set to end late May or early June. On March 19, exactly two weeks ago, Gov. Eric Holcomb directed schools to close through at least May 1, but called the potential for students to return a “miracle.”
Over those weeks, the virus has continued to spread. This week was the deadliest so far, with 13 new deaths reported Thursday by the Indiana State Department of Health for a total of 78 people. More than 3,000 people in Indiana have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Indiana became the 11th state to close schools for the remainder of the academic year.
Full story. Or read more from the governor’s press conference.
— Arika Herron
Indiana passes 3,000 cases
More than 3,000 people in Indiana have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the state’s daily tally Thursday. The state also reported 13 new deaths for a total of 78 people.
As of Thursday morning, Indiana had seen a total of 3,039 coronavirus cases.
Marion County had nearly 200 new cases for a total of 1,304. Three more people in Marion County were reported to have died from the illness, bringing the death toll in the state’s most populous county to 24.
Lake County had the second highest number of cases, with 215, 28 of which were new Thursday. Hamilton County was not far behind with 207, 21 of which were new cases. Johnson County meanwhile had 126 cases and Hendricks County 116, 24 of which were newly reported cases.
Some less populous areas also saw more than 10 new cases in Thursday’s tally, such as Decatur, Clark and Floyd counties.
Some areas have seen a higher percentage of deaths among those who have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Elkhart County, which has 27 reported cases, has three deaths. Franklin County has 45 cases and six deaths. That death toll ties Franklin County with Lake with the most deaths after only Marion County. Franklin’s neighboring Decatur County has 59 cases and three deaths.
Thursday’s tally represented the results from 16,285 tests.
— Shari Rudavsky
AG: Hoosiers can still buy guns, ammo
In response to reports that an Indiana county has asked gun stores to close during the statewide public health emergency, Attorney General Curtis Hill has issued an advisory opinion saying that counties, municipalities and other locales cannot restrict or prohibit the sale of firearms and/or ammunition.
According to a press release, Hill issued the opinion after receiving inquiries from state Sens. Jim Buck, Aaron Freeman and Jim Tomes. Hill did not identify the county that made the request.
“Year after year, Indiana’s lawmakers have recognized the paramount importance of Hoosiers’ right to bear arms,” Hill said in a statement. “We’re talking about a liberty so cherished as to be enshrined in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
— Justin L. Mack
Washington Square Mall to remain closed
Management at Washington Square Mall announced late Wednesday that the retail center will remain closed until further notice due to COVID-19.
“As much as we would love to keep you shopping here, the health and safety of not only the employees but you as well, is more important,” property manager Keith Lee Jr. said in an email statement. “During this time, we will be doing some spring cleaning. … Hopefully we will see you all back here once this coronavirus pandemic is over.”
— Alexandria Burris
Facebook Live on the CARES Act
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development and the Indiana Manufacturers Association will host a Facebook Live event to discuss how the recently signed federal stimulus measure, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act or CARES, impacts unemployment insurance benefits.
The hourlong online event will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 8. It will be recorded and made available to the public on DWD’s Facebook page.
The event will include information for self-employed individuals and contractors affected by COVID-19 and the most commonly asked questions DWD receives.
To join live and to access the recording after the event, go to DWD’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndianaDWD/.
— Alexandria Burris
Johnson County to issue stay-at-home orders through May 1
Johnson County and several of its municipalities plan to issue stay-at-home orders effective through May 1 in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The orders will be mandatory and executed by local mayors, town managers and the Johnson County Commission later Thursday, according to a news release.
The orders would require residents to remain in their homes except when they are at work or for permitted activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies and for health and safety. Municipalities with plans to issue such orders include Greenwood, Franklin and Whiteland.
As of Thursday, Johnson County has 126 reported cases of COVID-19 and three fatalities.
“We are right there with Hamilton County for the second most positive cases in Indiana,” said Johnson County Commissioner Brian Baird. “Experts are predicting another 2-4 weeks before reaching peak infection, which means things are only going to get worse. Taking action now can lessen the negative impact as we near and cross that peak period.”
In line with the state’s order, essential businesses and services will be allowed to stay open, including: grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, doctor’s offices, health care facilities, garbage pickup and public transit. Restaurants are permitted to remain open for takeout and delivery only. Non-essential businesses are instructed to close unless employees are able to work from home.
Christian Maslowski, president of Aspire, the county’s economic arm, said he supports the orders.
“We support state and local leaders in making the very tough decisions they must, knowing they are doing so in the best interest of the public’s health and safety,” said Maslowski. “They also understand this health crisis and the ensuing recession are creating a significant hardship for businesses, especially small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy and drive quality of life.
“Our local businesses need us now more than ever. We encourage folks who are fortunate to not have income disruption to buy gift cards, keep their subscriptions and buy now, but pick up later. Your support can literally help save a local business.”
— Elizabeth DePompei
Unemployment initial claims skyrocket
The number of Hoosiers who filed initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits rose to 146,243 for the week ending March 28, an indicator of the growing toll the coronavirus outbreak is having on the Indiana’s economy as businesses close amid a downturn in labor demand.
The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday said the state’s filings increased by 86,488 over the previous week. The state-level data is not seasonally adjusted.
“States continued to identify increases related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services. However, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries,” the department said in a statement.
“Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries.”
Nationally, a record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, an increase of 3,341,000 from the previous week’s revised level. For the comparable week one year ago, 211,000 Americans filed claims.
The U.S. Department of Labor says the previous week’s level was revised up by 24,000 from 3.28 million to 3.3 million.
The four-week moving average was 2,612,000, an increase of 1,607,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 6,000 from 998,250 to 1,004,250.
— Alexandria Burris
Cinemark lays off Indiana workers
Cinemark USA Inc. has laid off 150 employees in Indiana.
According to a Worker Adjustment and Retaining Notification Act letter filed with the state, the layoffs impact Cinemark locations in Indianapolis, Mishawaka and Valparaiso. Employers must file a WARN notice in the event of plant closings and large scale layoffs.
Workers were paid through March 26.
The Texas-based movie theater chain operated Cinemark Greenwood Corner in Indianapolis, Movies 14 in Mishawaka and Cinemark 12 at Valparaiso Commons.
Eight managers, 19 box office attendants, 12 concession workers, four counter servers and nine ushers were among those laid off in Indianapolis.
Cinemark Greenwood Commons wrapped up two and a half years of renovations late last year.
— Alexandria Burris
‘Stay at home’ extended to May 1
Indianapolis will be at home until at least May 1. The order, originally set to expire next week, was extended by order of Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Marion County Public Health Department Wednesday. The City-County Council must authorize the extension of the renewed emergency declaration.
Meanwhile, Gov. Eric Holcomb has not yet extended the statewide stay at home order. However, Holcomb said at his Wednesday press conference that updates could come in the next week.
Holcomb and other state officials warned Hoosiers that the peak has not yet arrived.
“We know it does not discriminate. It can infect the healthy. It can infect the young,” Holcomb said Wednesday. “Maybe you won’t be affected, but it will use you to kill others.”
As of Wednesday morning, the state reported 2,565 cases and 65 deaths in Indiana, an increase of 406 positive cases and 16 deaths from Tuesday’s report. Positive cases are present in 83 of Indiana’s 92 counties.
These numbers will be updated about 10 a.m. Thursday.
Menards bans kids, pets
Menards stores are barring children and pets from entering in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Employees at the Menards stores at 7145 E. 96th St. in Indianapolis and 10555 E. U.S. 36 in Avon said the new policy is companywide. It prohibits any children under the age of 16 and any pets that are not service animals from entering stores.
The policy will remain in effect until further notice.
More headlines from Indiana
National and international news
- More than 1,000 people died of coronavirus in the United States on Wednesday alone, raising the death toll over 5,000. A week ago the total was less than 1,300. Worldwide, the virus has killed more than 47,200 and infected nearly 940,000.
- New York state’s death toll from the coronavirus continued its sharp ascent with 391 people dying the in latest 24-hour period, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The virus has killed nearly 2,000 in the state, nearly half the U.S. total. Cuomo said cases in the state aren’t expected to peak until the end of April.
- The mayor of Los Angeles on Wednesday told everyone in the city to start wearing masks to combat the coronavirus.
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would be issuing an order for residents to stay at home for the next 30 days and only leave for essential services. Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada followed suit Wednesday, leaving less than 15 states without such orders.
This story will be updated throughout the day Thursday, April 2.
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