Coronavirus: More Than 30 Dead, State Health Director Says Peak May Be ‘Mid- To Late-April’

Mar 29, 2020

Nail salons, barber shops, car washes and hair salons are all considered "non-essential" in Gov. Eric Holcomb's "Stay-At-Home" order.
Credit Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Eight people died from the novel coronavirus over the weekend, and a total of more than 1,500 Hoosiers have now tested positive. The Indiana State Department of Health reported 255 new cases of COVID-19 in Marion County. 

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams highlighted Indianapolis among cities that are an emerging area of concern for the virus.

State Health Commissioner Says Indiana’s Peak May Be ‘Mid- To Late-April’

State Health Commissioner Kris Box says the peak of Indiana’s COVID-19 infections is still more than two weeks away.

Box says it’s difficult to tell how many Hoosiers may become infected with the novel coronavirus. 

But she says, based on forecasting models from other states and other countries, that peak is likely after the governor’s “Stay-At-Home” order is currently set to expire.

READ MORE: Can I Go For A Walk? Here's What A 'Stay-At-Home' Order Really Does

LEE MAS: ¿Qué Necesita Saber Acerca Del Coronavirus? Tenemos Respuestas.

Gov. Eric Holcomb says the state will extend the order if need be, and that decision will be data-driven.

“This is sobering every single day. And to know that that’s coming tomorrow that–that’s the urgency about this all,” Holcomb says. 

Sunday afternoon, the federal government extended its guidelines for social distancing through April 30 to help prevent the spread of the virus. 

General Motors To Use Kokomo Facility For Ventilator Production

President Donald Trump ordered General Motors on Friday to accelerate ventilator production under the Defense Production Act. 

A week ago, GM announced it was partnering with Ventec Life Systems to build ventilators in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The auto manufacturing company says it is currently working to retool its facility in Kokomo to start building the machines.

The Indiana Department of Correction is manufacturing personal protective equipment for first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Commissioner Rob Carter says originally, the Department of Correction was poised to start manufacturing hand sanitizer, but after the first positive case in Indiana, those priorities changed.

The shop at the Miami Correctional Facility was already designed to make offender uniforms. It moved to making gowns soon after the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in the state.

State Urges Schools To Offer Child Care For Essential Workers

State officials have grown increasingly vocal about a lack of child care resources for essential personnel, like hospital staff and public safety workers, as more people are directed to stay home. Some schools have continued to offer child care or are partnering with local organizations like the YMCA or Boys and Girls Clubs to do so.

But in a recent webinar, schools chief Jennifer McCormick urged education leaders across the state to consider the possibility of re-opening at least part of some school buildings to offer child care.

“We’re learning from other states child care is going to become – and is already – an issue,” she says.

In a memo sent last week, the Indiana Department of Education urged school leaders to consider allowing at least part of one school building to re-open to offer child care.

But McCormick made clear the state is not requiring any schools to do so.

Hospital Opens Fund For Coronavirus Response

Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Steuben County is giving community members a way to help as they deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospital has opened up a response fund where people can donate to help the hospital purchase essential supplies like personal protective equipment.

Cameron has also provided instructions on how to make homemade fabric masks that can be donated to the hospital.

Ball State Creates Special Paid Leave For Campus Closure

Ball State University trustees have approved a plan to give temporary paid leave to employees affected by the school’s closure during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ball State is calling the measure “Extraordinary Temporary Paid Leave.” If an employee can’t work through the school’s closure because of COVID-19, this paid leave will be how they will receive their regular expected salary and benefits through the end of June.

University President Geoffrey Mearns says only about 100 employees are currently deemed non-essential, but also can’t do their jobs from home. But he says that number could change. And he says the school is planning for employees who may get sick or have to care for a sick family member.

Psychologists Concerned About Mental Health In Coronavirus Crisis

John Gallagher is a professor of social work at IU South Bend, and works at Oaklawn Psychiatric Center in South Bend. He says the current atmosphere of isolation and uncertainty can increase anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and drug relapses.

“This does have the potential to have devastating consequences,” Gallagher says. “This pandemic was sudden. It was out of the blue and that in itself, from a mental health perspective, makes it that much more concerning or dangerous.”

He says the mental health impact should be taken just as seriously as physical health impacts from coronavirus.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.