Indiana reports first COVID-19 death, governor orders bars and restaurants to close

Updated: Mar. 16, 2020 at 2:51 PM EDT
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INDIANAPOLIS (FOX19) - Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Monday that the state has its first COVID-19 death.

Indiana health officials say the person was high-risk, over 60, and had health issues, but they would not have died without contracting the coronavirus.

“Indiana is under a public health emergency. We are at war with COVID-19 and we will win this war,” Gov. Holcomb said.

Earlier, the Indiana State Health Department said that there are five new presumptive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number in the state to 24.

There is one case in Bartholomew County, one in Floyd, one in Hendricks, one in Howard and one in Marion County, says ISDH.

139 people have been tested for COVID-19.

Gov. Eric Holcomb also announced additional steps to reduce the spread of the virus in Indiana:

  • No in-person events of more than 50 people.
  • Bars, nightclubs and restaurants are required to close to in-person patrons and may provide take-out and delivery services through the end of March.
  • 273 public school districts are closed, using e-learning days or on spring break and have announced a future closure. The Department of Education is working with the remaining 16 school corporations to determine their next steps and needs
  • State officials are collaborating with the Indiana Department of Education to discuss solutions regarding student assessments and meals for children whose schools have closed. DOE issued this guidance for schools regarding the 20-day waiver of the required 180 instructional days that Gov. Holcomb announced on Thursday.
  • FSSA has given daycares specific guidance to protect children in their care. The latest guidance is here.
  • Hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers should cancel and/or postpone elective and non-urgent surgical procedures immediately. Physicians should continue to perform critical procedures necessary to prevent short-term and/or long-term adverse effects to their patients’ overall health.
  • The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, which are closed on Mondays, will close to the public beginning Tuesday
  • The visitors center at White River State Park will close
  • Indiana state parks and recreation centers, including state park inns, remain open. Restaurants will convert operations to take-out and delivery
  • The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has suspended rules requiring certain unemployment insurance claimants to physically appear at a Work One location to engage in reemployment services for the next four weeks. This will ensure that individuals who may be symptomatic do not have to physically appear to continue their unemployment insurance eligibility
  • The DWD will also request flexibility under federal and state law to expand eligibility for claimants and ease burdens on employers.
  • Hoosiers who can donate blood are encouraged to visit local blood centers. Blood supplies are low. Please follow the guidance at
  • Hoosiers who need to renew their Medicaid eligibility will get more time to complete the process. No services will be interrupted.
  • Family Social Services Administration (FSSA) has asked federal officials to approve a request to temporarily waive the renewal process for Hoosiers who need SNAP or TANF benefits.
  • Hoosiers on Medicaid will not pay co-pays for COVID-19 testing. More information is here.
  • Hoosiers on Medicaid can get 90-day refills of medication for chronic conditions.
  • Community meals for senior citizens are being converted to home meal deliveries. Local partners, such as Area Agencies on Aging, have been given funding flexibility to cover the added costs of delivering meals. Thousands of meals are being served daily.
  • Every community has a child care resource and referral agency to connect parents with local child care options and provide referrals for support. Families can find their local Child Care Resource and Referral by calling 800-299-1627 or by consulting this map.

Gov. Holcomb says if anyone is sick with COVID-19 or suspects they are sick:

  • Stay home unless you need to seek medical care.
  • Avoid public areas and public transportation
  • Stay away from others as much as possible, especially people who are the most at risk such as older adults with multiple medical problems and those with a weakened immune system
  • Don’t shake hands
  • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening such as difficulty breathing and call your doctor or healthcare facility before you seek care.

More information can be found on the ISDH’s website and the CDC website.

COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE | Closings, cancellations in the Tri-State

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