Indiana health commissioner signs order to help protect nursing home residents from coronavirus

Gov. Holcomb gives update on Indiana's coronavirus response

INDIANAPOLIS (FOX19) - A new order to help protect residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities from contracting the coronavirus has been ordered by Indiana State Health Commissioner Doctor Kristina Box.

This order announced on Tuesday allows long term care facilities to transfer, discharge, or transport residents who test negative for the coronavirus, Dr. Box announced.

Families of those residents being moved will be notified by the facility once the decision is made.

Dr. Box said this order will help protect residents from contracting the coronavirus from patients in the same facility who already have tested positive.

This new order supersedes any local health department issued order and will remain in effect until the public health emergency is over, Dr. Box said.

In addition to keeping anyone else from getting the coronavirus, Dr. Box said this order will allow those who have the virus already to interact with each other.

According to Dr. Box, there have been reports of residents with the virus becoming depressed in facilities because of isolation.

FOX19 NOW reached out to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to request the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the state’s nursing homes.

Here is their response:

“The ISDH strike teams have been to more than 200 unique facilities. We have gone to many facilities more than once. The strike teams have identified more than 170 cases in nearly 50 long-term care facilities across the state. ISDH will provide aggregate totals but will not break down cases by facility. The only exceptions would be in cases in which a facility has self-identified or circumstances dictate further disclosure to protect public health.”

As for the number of coronavirus cases in the state, Dr. Box along with Governor Eric Holcomb announced 313 new cases on Wednesday.

With these new cases, Indiana now has a total of 8,527 coronavirus cases.

On Wednesday, the health commissioner and the governor said 37 more people died from the coronavirus.

In total, 387 Hoosiers have now died from the coronavirus, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

While the number of tests over the weekend was down, according to Dr. Box, Indiana has conducted a total of 46,017 coronavirus tests.

Dr. Box didn’t provide the current number of coronavirus patients hospitalized, but she did say 46 percent of the ICU beds across the state are still available.

Overall, only 24.7 percent of the ICU beds in Hoosier hospitals are being used for coronavirus patients and 29 percent are used for non-coronavirus patients.

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