Coronavirus Indiana: COVID-19 cases top 33K, death toll reaches 1,946; latest updates

Indiana helps small companies hurt by COVID-19
INDIANAPOLIS (WLS) -- As the number of novel coronavirus cases increases across the U.S. and around the world, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indiana has reached 33,558 with 1,946 deaths in the state.

We've compiled the need-to-know information and resources to keep you and your family informed and safe. You can find all of ABC7's latest reporting on the COVID-19 outbreak here.

RELATED: Here's where to find coronavirus testing in Northwest Indiana

TRACKING CORONAVIRUS IN INDIANA:

May 29, 2020

Indiana helps small companies hurt by virus; 40 more deaths
Indiana is making $30 million available to small businesses to help them recover from losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger said Friday the Small Business Restart Fund uses federal relief funds for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and $5 million in annual revenue that have experienced a 40% drop in revenues. They can receive grants up to $2,500 for each month. Indiana health officials say 40 more Indiana residents have died from COVID-19, while another 521 Hoosiers have been diagnosed with the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

May 28, 2020

Indiana sees 37 new COVID-19 deaths, 646 new diagnosed cases
State health officials say 37 more Hoosiers have died from COVID-19 while another 646 people have been diagnosed with the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. The 37 additional confirmed deaths reported Thursday by the Indiana State Department of Health occurred between April 29 and Thursday, but most of them occurred Wednesday and Thursday. Those new deaths bring the number of Hoosiers confirmed to have died from COVID-19 to 1,907. Another 161 people have died from probable infections of COVID-19, raising Indiana's confirmed or presumed deaths to 2,068 since the state recorded its first death on March 15.

Gary mayor to hold fruit, vegetable giveaway amid pandemic
Gary Mayor Jerome Prince announced the launch of the Mayor's Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Initiative, a partnership with Vine Line Produce Distribution.

Mayor Prince and the City of Gary will distribute boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables to 1,680 Gary families every Saturday through the end of June. Each 25-pound box will contain apples, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, asparagus, cabbage, zucchini, bell peppers, cucumbers, and lettuce.

Gary residents may pick up a box of fresh fruit and vegetables from the Gary Genesis Convention Center every Saturday through June 27, beginning at 10:30 a.m. each day.

May 27, 2020

FSSA chief: Mental health issues up amid virus outbreak
Indiana 's human services chief says the state is experiencing more substance use disorders and other mental health issues amid the coronavirus outbreak. Secretary Jennifer Sullivan of the Family and Social Services Administration said Wednesday that Indiana experienced its highest monthly dispensation of the opioid antidote naloxone in April. Year to date, nearly 1.5% of all emergency medical runs involve administration of naloxone, or Narcan, compared with less than 1% for the same period last year, she said.

Indiana officials announce 32,437 COVID-19 cases, 1,871 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 32,437 COVID-19 cases and 1,871 deaths. There have been 235,333 COVID-19 tests conducted.

May 26, 2020

Indiana's confirmed, presumed COVID-19 deaths pass 2,000
State health officials say another 18 Hoosiers have died from COVID-19, raising Indiana's confirmed or presumed fatalities from the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus to more than 2,000. The 18 additional confirmed deaths reported Tuesday by the Indiana State Department of Health occurred between Friday and Monday, and bring to 1,850 the number of Hoosiers confirmed to have died from COVID-19. Another 154 people have died from probable infections of COVID-19, boosting Indiana's confirmed or presumed deaths to 2,004 since the first one was recorded on March 15. Another 373 Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, raising Indian's total confirmed cases to 32,078.

3 Terre Haute federal prison inmates positive for COVID-19
Three inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons' coronavirus website shows that as of Monday three inmates but no staff members had tested positive for the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus at the U.S. Penitentiary. The penitentiary is the maximum security prison at the Federal Correctional Complex in western Indiana that's located about 70 miles west of Indianapolis. The Tribune-Star reports the federal agency's website shows that no COVID-19 related deaths have occurred at the Terre Haute prisons complex. Nationwide, there have been 59 federal inmate deaths attributed to COVID-19.

May 25, 2020

Indiana beaches draw big crowds on Memorial Day
Once again, large crowds packed the beaches in Indiana, parking at Indiana Dunes and then heading straight for the water.

Some residents said most of the license plates they saw headed to the beach were from Illinois. Others left for less-crowded beaches elsewhere along the lakefront. Officials said the number of people made it impossible to follow social distancing rules.

Indiana officials announce 31,715 COVID-19 cases, 1,832 deaths
Indiana health officials announced an additional 354 COVID-19 cases and 8 deaths bringing the state's total to 31,715 COVID-19 cases and 1,832 deaths. There have been 226,251 COVID-19 tests conducted in the state.

Indianapolis businesses can seek grants for virus safeguards
Small Indianapolis businesses are being urged to round up receipts for a grant program that will reimburse eligible companies for protective equipment to help them reopen safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Joe Hogsett released details last week about the $5 million RESTART Grant Program, which is intended for businesses with 150 or fewer employees. The program is being administered in a partnership with the Indy Chamber and will provide qualifying businesses with reimbursements up to $5,000 on purchases of face masks, face shields, disinfectant products and other items such as partitions intended to reduce the spread of the virus.

May 24, 2020

Indiana draws Memorial Day Weekend beachgoers amid COVID-19 pandemic
Some Indiana and Wisconsin beaches looked like a pre-pandemic summer this Memorial Day weekend. But across state lines, Illinois' lakefront remains closed. Families and smiling faces sprawled through a 2-mile stretch of Porter County's West Beach in northwest Indiana Sunday. Days after Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb officially moved most of the state into Phase Three of the reopening plan, some beaches, parts of the lakefront and Indiana Dunes National Park reopened in time for the holiday weekend.

Another 487 Hoosiers have COVID-19; total tops 31,000
Indiana health officials say another 487 Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, raising the state's total past 31,000. The Indiana State Department of Health said Sunday that with 12 additional deaths, a total of 1,824 Hoosiers now are confirmed to have died from disease caused by the coronavirus. Another 152 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record.

May 23,2020

Indiana Dunes starts beach parking information line
Indiana Dunes National Park has started an information line to help visitors find an open beach with available parking amid severe shoreline erosion along Lake Michigan and the need for social distancing. Beginning Saturday morning, visitors can call 219-395-1003 to hear recorded information on available parking at Indiana Dunes National Park beaches and nearby Indiana Dunes State Park. The national park says the information line will be updated regularly throughout the day during beach season between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. The information can help visitors avoid smaller national park beaches and parking lots that tend to fill early on weekends.

Indiana officials announce 30,901 COVID-19 cases, 1,812 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 30,901 COVID-19 cases and 1,812 deaths. There have been 214,933 COVID-19 tests conducted in the state.

May 22, 2020

Indiana moves to Stage 3 of reopening plan, excluding 3 counties

Most of Indiana moved into the third stage of Governor Eric Holcomb's reopening plan Friday morning.

Three counties, Lake, Marion and Cass will have to wait until June 1 to enter Stage 3.

As part of Stage 3, gatherings of 100 people will now be allowed, stores and malls can be at 75 percent capacity, gyms, YMCAs, and fitness studios can open with restrictions and campgrounds can open

Beaches will also be open for the busy Memorial Day Weekend. Authorities say they are prepared to close beaches if they get too crowded and social distancing guidelines are not being practiced.

May 21, 2020

Indiana hopes to have athletes back in mid-June
Indiana University hopes to have some student-athletes back by mid-June.

President Michael McRobbie posted a 22-page plan on his web site to reopen the university in stages, which includes the return of at least a percentage of all students this fall.

The release comes one day after the NCAA approved a measure to lift the moratorium on voluntary workouts for football and men's and women's basketball players. It is set to take effect June 1.

Indiana officials announce 29,936 COVID-19 cases, 1,764 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 29,936 COVID-19 cases and 1,764 deaths. There have been 202,995 COVID-19 tests conducted in the state.

Indiana jobless claims reach 670,000 during virus outbreak
Indiana saw about 30,000 more people file for unemployment benefits last week as business struggles continue despite the easing of the state's coronavirus restrictions. Federal statistics released Thursday show job losses have slowed in recent weeks, but roughly 670,000 people have sought jobless aid in Indiana over the past nine weeks since business closures swept across the country. The number of initial unemployment applications submitted in Indiana last week was about the same as the week before and well below the 100,000-plus the state received for three straight weeks in late March and early April.

May 20, 2020

Most of Indiana to move to Stage 3 of reopening earlier than planned
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that most of the state will move into Stage 3 on Friday, two days earlier than planned. Lake, Cass and Marion counties will have to wait until June 1, however.

Phase 3 of Indiana's reopening plan will allow for social gatherings of 100 people; stores and malls can reopen at 75% capacity; gyms, YMCAs and fitness studios can also reopen with restrictions; and campgrounds can reopen.

Indiana officials announce 29,274 COVID-19 cases, with 1,716 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 29,274 COVID-19 cases and 1,716 COVID-19 related deaths. There have been 195,738 tests conducted in the state.

Famed Three Floyds brewpub to remain closed indefinitely
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted the founder of one of the most iconic, and crowded, brewpubs in the Midwest to remain closed long after the state of Indiana allows businesses to reopen. Nick Floyd says he didn't want to risk the health of his employees and his customers and says he won't reopen the doors of his Three Floyds pub in Munster until he thinks it's safe to do so. And he says that may not happen for a year or two. Fans of Three Floyds beer won't go thirsty, though. Floyd says the brewery and distillery will keep operating.

May 19, 2020

Indiana tops 1,800 coronavirus deaths in just over 2 months
Indiana health officials say the state has now had more than 1,800 people die with confirmed or presumed coronavirus infections since the state's first death was recorded just more than two months ago. Most of Indiana's 57 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths occurred between Friday and Monday, increasing the total number of such deaths to 1,678.

Notre Dame planning to reopen campus in fall
Notre Dame says it is reopening its campus in South Bend this fall. However there are some major changes.

The semester will begin two weeks earlier than planned and it will end by Thanksgiving.

The college is getting rid of its fall break to help lower the chances of students bring the COVID-19 back to campus.

Instructors are also being told to prepare lessons for in-class and online.

May 18, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak closes southern Indiana poultry plant
About 100 workers at a southern Indiana poultry processing plant have tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak that has it closed until at least Wednesday. Farbest Foods says the nearly 600 workers at its Huntingburg plant were tested on Friday and the company was working Monday and Tuesday to notify healthy employees on when to return. Farbest's plant is at least the fourth Indiana meat or poultry processing plant that has faced outbreaks of COVID-19 among its workforce. The worst one has been at a Tyson pork-processing plant in Logansport, which was closed for nearly two weeks.

Indiana officials announce 28,255 COVID-19 cases, 1,621 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 477 more positive COVID-19 cases and 14 new deaths. There have also been 183,912 tests conducted.

Lake County restaurants reopen at half-capacity

Restaurants in Lake County reopened at half capacity as part of the second phase of Governor Eric Holcomb's plan.

Nail and hair salons, barbershops, spas and more can reopen by appointment and with restrictions as well.

Governor Holcomb is aiming to have the entire state reopened by July 4.

May 17, 2020

Indiana officials announce 27,778 COVID-19 cases, 1,607 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 511 more positive COVID-19 cases and 11 new deaths. There have also been 177,243 tests conducted.

Northwest Indiana restaurants, barbershops navigate new normal amid COVID-19 pandemic
Indiana state Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, is encouraging everyone to keep in mind that the threat of COVID-19 hasn't gone away. He says business owners should take all the necessary precautions. He also said Indiana has a new program to help them provide personal protective equipment for their workers.

May 16, 2020

Indiana officials announce 27,280 COVID-19 cases, 1,596 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 625 more positive COVID-19 cases and 46 additional deaths. There have also been 171,358 tests conducted.

May 15, 2020

Indiana officials announce 26,655 COVID-19 cases, 1,550 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 614 more positive COVID-19 cases and 42 additional deaths. There have also been 165,448 tests conducted.

Indiana sending virus protective items to election offices
Indiana officials have started shipping protective supplies to county election offices ahead of the start of in-person voting for the primary election that was delayed until June 2 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Officials said Friday that federal funding has been used buy supplies including 200,000 face masks and 25,000 face shields. Mail-in voting is being encouraged to protect poll workers and voters from possible COVID-19 exposure. Meanwhile, health officials say 42 more Indiana residents have died from coronavirus illnesses, pushing the state's pandemic death toll from confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 to nearly 1,700.

May 14, 2020

Indiana officials announce 26,053 COVID-19 cases, 1,508 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 634 more positive COVID-19 cases and 26 additional deaths, bringing the state's total number of cases to 26,053 and its total deaths to 1,508. There have also been 160,239 tests conducted.

Indiana jobless claims reach 640,000 since coronavirus hit
About 30,000 people applied for unemployment benefits in Indiana last week even as many business restrictions stemming from the coronavirus outbreak were eased in most of the state. Federal statistics released Thursday show Indiana has had about 640,000 people seek jobless aid over the past eight weeks. Indiana reported processing nearly 69,000 applications for a separate federal program set up for the self-employed and gig workers. The federal statistics show Indiana was paying unemployment benefits to about 270,000 people during the week ending April 25, while only about 13,000 people received those payments a year earlier.

May 13, 2020

AGs in 14 states ask Trump to hold China accountable for COVID-19
Republican attorneys general in 14 states are asking President Donald Trump to form a federal/state partnership to hold China accountable for the spread of coronavirus. The letter sent Wednesday calls for state and federal governments to seek legal remedies for the cost the virus has had on economies and human life. The effort is being led by the Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson. The letter is also signed by attorneys general in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana. Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Study estimates 2.8% coronavirus infection rate for Indiana
A statewide study by Indiana University researchers estimates that at least 2.8% of Indiana's population has been infected by the coronavirus, a rate about 10 times that shown by previous testing. The testing of about 4,600 people at random around the state found 1.7% were infected at the time of the test and 1.1% tested positive for antibodies showing they were previously exposed. The findings estimate that Indiana has seen a 0.58% fatality rate among those infected. A professor who led the study says that rate is almost six times greater than the fatality rate for season flu.

Indiana COVID-19 cases reach 25,473, with 1,482 deaths
Indiana health officials announce 409 new COVID-19 cases and 38 new deaths, bringing the state's total number of cases to 25,473 and 1,482 deaths. There have also been 154,083 tests conducted.

May 12, 2020

Indiana COVID-19 cases top 25K
Indiana health officials have reported an additional 38 confirmed or presumed coronavirus-related deaths, raising the statewide death toll from the pandemic to 1,578 people. The Indiana State Department of Health recorded 33 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths that occurred between Wednesday and Monday, along with five additional death considered coronavirus-related by doctors but without confirmation of the illness from test results. The latest state statistics list 1,444 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, along with 134 deaths with probable infections. Indiana's earliest recorded coronavirus death was less than two months ago on March 15.

May 11, 2020

Indiana officials announce 24,627 COVID-19 cases,1,411 deaths statewide
Indiana health officials announced 511 new COVID-19 cases and 32 new deaths, bringing the state's total number of cases to 24,627 with 1,411 deaths. There have been 146,688 tests conducted.

Lake County enters second phase of reopening

Lake County has entered the second phase of Governor Eric Holcomb's reopening plan. Much of the state had already entered the phase allowing for more retail shops to reopen, but reopening in Lake County had been delayed due to a higher COVID-19 infection rate.

In the rest of Indiana, restaurants can now reopen at half capacity. In Lake County, the restaurant reopening is scheduled to take place on May 18.

Joshua Halpern owns two jewelry stores that have been closed since March. He said his employees have been prepping the stores to get ready for customers, installing plexiglass, putting out masks, gloves and sanitizer.

"I don't think anybody even realizes how much this is going to add to people's budgets this year," Halpern said.

Indiana women's fund helps immigrant families amid pandemic
Three Indiana women who moved to the United States as children have created a fund to help immigrant families who don't qualify for government aid and have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. The women joined other volunteers, many of whom also were recipients under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, in an effort to raise awareness of working-class families -- including people living in the country illegally. The Indianapolis Star reports the Undocumented Hoosier Support Fund will help about 800 families pay for utilities, medical expenses, or a whole month's worth of food.

May 10, 2020

Lake County readies to reopen Monday
Retailers in Lake County will be to open up their doors Monday under Gov. Eric Holcomb's phased reopening plan. All but three Indiana counties entered the second stage last Monday. The three counties have higher concentrations of COVID-19 cases. In the second stage, retail and commercial businesses can reopen at 50% capacity. Lake County restaurant and bars that serve food will be able to open at 50% capacity May 18, as part of the second stage.

Indiana officials announce 24,126 COVID-19 cases,1,379 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 402 new COVID-19 cases and 17 new deaths, bringing the state's total number of cases to 24,126 with 1,379 deaths. There have been 140,029 test conducted.

Reopening Indiana: Churches cautiously hold first in-person services Sunday amid COVID-19 crisis
It's the first Sunday that some churches in Indiana can have in-person services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders are urging congregations to take precautions.

Hunger nonprofit seeks donations for meat processing costs
A northeastern Indiana nonprofit organization that provides meat to food banks is seeking the public's help during the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered processing plants. Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry in Garrett has an abundance of pigs sent to it from farmers because the meat processing plants it partners with are either closed or slowed down production due to the virus outbreak. The organization is encouraging people to donate via its website or send a check or a money order to help offset these costs.

Indiana voters shifting to mail-in ballots for primary
Many of Indiana's voters have shifted over the past decade to casting ballots days or weeks ahead of Election Day rather than standing in line at their neighborhood polling site on that day. The coronavirus outbreak is causing what could become an even bigger shift toward mail-in ballots for Indiana's upcoming primary election that's been delayed until June 2. Election officials and state political leaders are encouraging mail-in voting as a way to protect poll workers and voters from possible COVID-19 exposure. More than 200,000 Indiana voters have so far requested mail-in ballots.

May 9, 2020

Indiana officials announce 23,732 COVID-19 cases, 1,362 deaths
Indiana health officials announced 606 new COVID-19 cases and 34 new deaths Saturday, bringing the state's total number of cases to 23,732, with 1,362 deaths. There have been 135,686 tests conducted.

Indiana pork plant resumes operations after 2-week closure
A pork processing plant in north-central Indiana has resumed limited production, two weeks after company officials temporarily suspended operations amid the coronavirus pandemic. Workers returned May 8 to Indiana Packers Corp.'s Delphi plant following the completion of coronavirus testing of its 2,267 workers and contractors. Indiana Packers says in a statement that the testing found 301 plant workers who tested positive for the coronavirus. That's about 13% of the plant's workforce. The testing was completed with help from Carroll County and state health officials. Meat processing plants across the country are cautiously reopening after President Donald Trump's executive order classified them as critical infrastructure.

Indiana women's fund helps immigrant families amid pandemic
Three Indiana women who moved to the United States as children have created a fund to help immigrant families who don't qualify for government aid and have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. The women joined other volunteers, many of whom also were recipients under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, in an effort to raise awareness of working-class families -- including people living in the country illegally. The Indianapolis Star reports the Undocumented Hoosier Support Fund will help about 800 families pay for utilities, medical expenses, or a whole month's worth of food.

May 8, 2020

Virus cuts state revenues
Indiana's budget director says state revenue collections for April fell nearly $1 billion short of projections amid the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus outbreak. Budget Director Cristopher Johnston says collections for the month were forecast last December at just over $2.2 billion but came in $964 million under target, in part because of delayed income tax filings and the loss of all casino taxes amid social distancing steps to slow the spread of the outbreak.

Indiana officials announce 23,146 COVID-19 cases, 1,328 deaths in state
Officials announced that 675 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories.

May 7, 2020

Indiana meatpacking plant reopens after virus outbreak
Indiana officials are warning those eager to resume normal activities that the coronavirus outbreak could turn for the worse again. A new order from Gov. Eric Holcomb that took effect Monday lifted many business and travel restrictions around the state. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said Thursday that the number of COVID-19 cases is expected to grow as the state opens up. Meanwhile, workers began returning Thursday to a northern Indiana meatpacking plant that was closed for nearly two weeks. Tests have found nearly 900 employees of the Tyson Foods plant in Logansport infected with the coronavirus.

Indiana officials announce 22,503 COVID-19 cases, 1,295 deaths statewide
Indiana health officials announced 650 new COVID-19 cases and 31 new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the state's total number of cases to 22,503, with 1,295 total deaths. There have been 124,782 tests conducted statewide.

May 6, 2020

IHSAA to allow summer athletic activities to resume July 1
The Indiana High School Athletic Association plans to allow school sponsored athletic activities to resume mid-summer. The IHSAA announced Wednesday that as long as there are no changes to Gov. Eric Holcomb's plans to reopen Indiana, school sponsored summer activities may resume July 1. Until then, all such athletic activities are suspended.

Indiana officials announce 21,870 COVID-19 cases, 1,264 deaths in state
Health officials said there were 862 new COVID-19 cases and 51 additional deaths Wednesday. There have now been 120,496 COVID-19 tests conducted in Indiana.

Indianapolis keeping stay-at-home order through next week
Indianapolis officials are keeping the city's stay-at-home order and restrictions on nonessential businesses in place through at least next week even as statewide rules aimed at slowing the coronavirus spread have been eased. The governor's new statewide order allows Indianapolis to begin lifting restrictions on Monday, but Mayor Joe Hogsett said Wednesday that the tougher city rules would continue until May 15. City officials are also continuing a ban on religious services that are being allowed beginning Friday in much of the state.

Indiana warns about false, misleading virus cleaning claims
State officials say Indiana residents should be wary about false or misleading claims some companies are making about their ability to combat the spread of the coronavirus with disinfectants or cleaning services. The Office of the Indiana State Chemist says cleaning services and cleaning product manufacturers have claimed they can disinfect homes, workplaces and other spaces with products that will specifically kill the coronavirus. The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that the State Chemist's office says such exaggerated or outright false claims could create a false sense of security. The office says it will pursue enforcement as necessary against false or misleading claims.

May 5, 2020

Testing site opens in Hammond
The first COVID-19 testing site in Hammond opened at 1231 E Gostlin St.

You must bring your state ID to prove you are a resident of Lake County and you must show symptoms of the virus. The site will be able to test up to 100 people per-day and will open for at least five days.

Results from the tests are expected within 48 hours.

While most of Indiana has entered the second phase of Governor Eric Holcomb's reopening plan, Lake County has not had its restrictions eased.

Meanwhile, health officials announced 526 additional cases and 62 deaths, bringing the state's total to 21,033 cases and 1,213 deaths.

May 4, 2020

Indiana enters Phase 2 of Gov. Holcomb's reopening plan as COVID-19 cases top 20K
Indiana has begun easing restrictions on businesses in most of the state beginning Monday as the second phase of Governor Eric Holcomb's five-stage plan to fully reopen the state.

As part of the plan, social gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed as well as the opening of non-essential manufacturing and industrial operations and retail businesses.

The reopening takes effect in most counties, except Lake, Marion and Cass. Those counties will move into the second phase at a later date.

Starting May 11, the next step in re-opening Indiana will include the limited reopening of restaurants and personal services, like salons and barbershops by appointment only.

Monday, health officials announced 583 new COVD-19 cases with 19 additional deaths, bringing the state's total to 20,507 positive coronavirus cases with 1,151 deaths. Updated statistics released Monday also added 120 deaths among nursing home residents to the previous statewide total released a week earlier. The new tallies show 420 COVID-19 nursing home resident deaths, or about 36% of the 1,151 total statewide deaths. State officials have refused to identify nursing homes with outbreaks, despite complaints from relatives about a lack of communication about illnesses and deaths.

Indiana governor apologizes for maskless photo at restaurant
Indiana's governor has apologized for posing for a photo with two people in which none of the three were wearing protective masks. The photo circulating on social media shows Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb taking the selfie while inside a restaurant Saturday in the southern Indiana tourist town of Nashville, even while his statewide stay-a-home order was still in effect. It was taken a day after Holcomb released a plan to relax coronavirus restrictions starting Monday that recommends such masks be worn in public until mid-June. Holcomb apologized for what he called a lapse in his "usual vigilance," explaining that he left his mask in the car while picking up a carry-out order.

May 3, 2020

Indiana readies to ease some business restrictions Monday
The road to reopening Indiana ramps up Monday, with the state easing restrictions on businesses in most counties.The majority of Indiana will move to phase two of Gov. Eric Holcomb's five-stage reopening plan, starting Monday. The second phase of Indiana's plan to reopen will include lifting travel restrictions and allowing social gatherings of up to 25 people following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. It'll also open non-essential manufacturing and industrial operations, as well as retail businesses. Shopping malls may open at 50% capacity, but with indoor common areas at half that capacity.

Indiana officials announce 19,933 COVID-19 cases, 1,132 death statewide
The Indiana State Department of Health is attributing 17 new deaths to the coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities to 1,132. The department also announced Sunday there are 645 additional positive cases of the virus in the state, bringing that number to 4,726. Department officials noted that while the number of cases has increased, intensive care unit and ventilator capacity remains steady. The health department reported another 114 probable deaths from COVID-19, which aren't included in the total deaths. Those are deaths for which COVID-19 are listed as a contributing cause, but there was no positive test.

Indiana BMV announces branch visits by appointment only
Some of Indiana's Bureau of Motor Vehicles license branches will re-open with an appointment-only service format beginning Monday. BMV Commissioner Peter Lacy announced on Friday that customers will be able to schedule an appointment for transactions which are not available online. The BMV has modified its operations to ensure the safety of its employees and customers during the coronavirus pandemic. To get more information on available transactions and to schedule a branch appointment, customers can go online to in.gov/bmv/2405.htm. Customers with verified appointments will be required to check-in upon arrival.

Arts Commission announces Indiana Arts Emergency Relief Fund
The Indiana Arts Commission says the Indiana Arts Emergency Relief Fund will support arts organizations during the caronavirus pandemic. Money for the fund is coming from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, and Arts Midwest with funding provided by the recent federal relief bill. Fiscal year 2020 arts grant recipients of the arts commission are eligible for funding and will be awarded fixed amounts of approximately $2,500 to $3,000. All eligible organizations will be awarded funds upon the successful completion of a required form. The deadline for eligible organizations to request funding is May 15.

May 2, 2020

Indiana officials announce 19,295 COVID-19 cases, 1,115 deaths statewide
Officials announced 676 new positive COVID-19 cases and 53 new deaths in Indiana, bringing total cases to 19,295 with 1,115 deaths.There have been 104,141 tests conducted

Indiana Supreme Court to hold May oral arguments remotely
For the first time in its history, the Indiana Supreme Court will hold oral arguments using videoconferencing when it hears cases in May. It said that doing so will honor social distancing guidelines during the ongoing public health emergency caused by coronavirus pandemic.

Helpline serves front-line workers, families during pandemic
A helpline has been set up to provide services for front-line workers and families in need in northwestern Indiana and the Chicago area during the coronavirus pandemic. The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that Dr. Kalyani Gopal thought about the helpline one day while she was leaving work. The Rapid Outreach Amplified Response Helpline Team includes a number of organizations. Mental health professionals will provide screenings and referrals, clergy will provide spiritual support and health care workers will screen people for coronavirus symptoms and direct them to testing sites. Local food banks will inform people about assistance and volunteer opportunities, and housing experts will assist people with housing needs and homelessness placement.

The main number for the helpline is 219-200-0003. Ring Central, a communications company, sponsored the helpline, Gopal noted. It is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

May 1, 2020

Indianapolis could welcome back fans for Brickyard weekend
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb says he hopes to open sports venues on July Fourth. That would give Indianapolis Motor Speedway the opportunity to become one of the first sporting venues to put fans back in the stands. Holcomb cautioned it is only a target date and could be pushed back depending on the coronavirus. Speedway officials currently have an IndyCar-Xfinity Series doubleheader set for July 4. NASCAR's Brickyard 400 is scheduled for July 5.

Gov. Holcomb eases business restrictions
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is relaxing of business restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus spread for much of the state, allowing more manufacturers, retailers and shopping malls to open their doors starting Monday under health and social distancing guidelines. The governor's new directive lifts travel restrictions under the statewide stay-at-home order that took effect March 25, but doesn't allow restaurants to resume in-person dining or hair salon reopenings for another week. The new directive removes churches from limits on gathering sizes effective May 8. Holcomb's new order keeps previous restrictions in place for Marion, Lake and Cass counties.

Indiana officials announce 1,062 COVID-19-related deaths in 18,630 cases
Indiana health officials said the state had 815 more positive COVID-19 cases and 55 new deaths, bringing the total number of cases statewide to 18,630 and 1,062 deaths. There have been 99,639 tests conducted.

April 30, 2020

New Indiana coronavirus order won't ban tighter local rules
Indiana's governor says any easing of Indiana's statewide stay-at-home order won't limit the authority of city or county officials from imposing tighter restrictions in their attempts to slow the coronavirus that has killed at least 1,000 people across the state. Gov. Eric Holcomb is poised to announce on Friday modifications to the business and travel restrictions that have been in place since March 25. Indianapolis officials, however, extended the city's stay-at-home order on Thursday by two weeks through May 15, saying the state's largest city was still experiencing too many COVID-19 cases to safely relax restrictions.

Indiana COVID-19-related deaths top 1,000
Indiana health officials announced the state has 17,835 COVID-19 cases, with 1,007 deaths. There were 669 new cases and 44 new deaths. There were also 3,475 more tests conducted, bringing the total number of tests to 94,998.

Air Guard flyovers in central Indiana postponed to Saturday
A series of flyovers by the Indiana Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing in several central Indiana cities has been postponed to Saturday due to weather and expanded. The flyovers by four A-10 Thunderbolts are intended to salute hospitals and to lift morale during the coronavirus outbreak. The flyovers now are scheduled for downtown Terre Haute at 11:35 a.m., the Johnson Armory near Franklin at 11:50, then, minutes later, Community Hospital East, St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel, the VA Hospital and University Hospital in downtown Indianapolis, the Lawrence Armory, downtown Anderson at 12:05 p.m., then downtown Muncie, and the Marion VA hospital.

This time, Pence wears mask as he tours Indiana plant
Vice President Mike Pence has donned a face covering while touring a General Motors/Ventec ventilator production facility in Indiana. He had come under fire Tuesday for failing to wear one at the Mayo Clinic. Pence on Thursday toured the General Motors facility in Kokomo, which has already manufactured hundreds of the units. The visit came hours after Pence's wife, second lady Karen Pence, defended her husband's decision to not wear a mask at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She told Fox News Channel that he had been unaware of Mayo's coronavirus mask policy until after he left, although the Mayo Clinic said differently in a since-deleted tweet.

April 29, 2020

Cell phone data shows more Hoosiers leaving home

New cell phone location data shows people across Illinois and Indiana are starting to leave their homes more than before.Our data team obtained cell phone location information analyzed by the data company SafeGraph. It shows the number of people remaining indoors all day crept down over the course of last week.

Contractor picked to spur Indiana's coronavirus tracing
The state will take over notifying those in Indiana possibly exposed to coronavirus infections in an action officials describe as part of their effort for easing statewide business restrictions. The state health commissioner said Wednesday a contractor will hire 500 call center staffers who will focus on contacting people with confirmed COVID-19 infections to ask them about whom they've been in close contact with, then informing those people. The call center is expected to start operations on May 11. Gov. Eric Holcomb says he'll announce Friday how he'll modify the statewide stay-at-home order.

Indiana health officials announce 17,182 positive COVID-19 cases, 964 deaths
Indiana officials said the state had 605 more cases and 63 more deaths Wednesday. There were also 4,503 additional COVID-19 tests, bringing the state's testing total to 91,550.

April 28, 2020

Governor Eric Holcomb says stay-at-home order changes could come Friday
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb says he plans to announce any changes to his state's stay-at-home order this Friday, but he has hinted some rules could be relaxed.

Some elective and non-emergency procedures resumed on April 72 in Indiana, including veterinarians and dentists.

Indiana health officials also announced an additional 627 new cases and 57 additional deaths, bringing the state's total to 16,588 cases and 901 deaths.

Online ballot request form posted for Indiana primary
Indiana voters can now submit online their requests for a mail-in ballot for the state's June 2 primary election. The request form was posted online Tuesday on the state's voter registration site www.IndianaVoters.com. The electronic form submits the ballot request to election officials, rather than voters having to mail the ballot application form to their county election office. Election officials are promoting mail-in voting as a way to protect the safety of voters and polling site workers by reducing the amount of in-person voting. The primary was delayed by four weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Indiana Air National Guard to perform flyovers for frontline workers

The Indiana Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing will conduct a series of flyovers in several Indiana cities this week to salute hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak. A Fort Wayne mission on Tuesday will fly over Lutheran Hospital, Dupont and two Parkview hospitals beginning about 11:10 a.m. A central Indiana mission on Thursday will fly over the Johnson Armory at 10:45 a.m., then Community Hospital East, St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel, the VA Hospital and University Hospital in downtown Indianapolis, the Lawrence Armory and IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie.

April 27, 2020

Gov. Holcomb announces free mental health resource
Indiana has launched a new website, BeWellIndiana.org, to provide residents with free mental health resources that have been vetted by experts. The site is designed to help with the increase in anxiety, depression and other mental health issues caused by the pandemic, including both first-time issues as well as pre-existing mental health concerns. Initially, BeWellIndiana.org will focus on the various mental health challenges due to COVID-19, but will continue to evolve as a resource beyond the current crisis.

Indiana county clamps down with big jump in virus cases
Tighter business restrictions have been imposed in a northern Indiana county where a coronavirus outbreak prompted the closure of a Tyson Foods meatpacking plant. State health officials say test results over the weekend confirmed about 700 more COVID-19 cases in Cass County, boosting the county's total to 1,025. The new orders in Logansport and Cass County prohibit more than one family member and anyone younger than 16 from entering retail businesses. The state health department reports 31 additional coronavirus deaths, boosting the state's confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 844.

GM looks to hire more than 1,000 to make ventilators
General Motors in Kokomo is hiring for more than 1,000 full- and part-time workers in Kokomo to help it meet demand for medical ventilators during the coronavirus outbreak. GM has said it wants to produce 30,000 ventilators by the end of August. The starting wage for the temporary positions starts at $16.67 per hour. The work is for a minimum of eight to 10 hours per day. Part-time employees will work 16-32 hours per week. A virtual job fair will be held at 11 a.m. May 6 to help applicants learn more about the opportunities. To register, visit https://on.in.gov/vjfr4 .

April 26, 2020

Indiana Department of Correction officer dies of COVID-19
The Indiana Department of Correction reported the first death of a state correctional officer to COVID-19 over the weekend. The Wabash Valley Correctional Facility said that correctional officer Gary Winke, 67, died of complications of coronavirus on Saturday. Weinke had worked for the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility since 2007.

Indiana reports 29 more virus deaths, 634 more cases
Indiana health officials have added 29 coronavirus deaths to the state's total, bringing it to 813. They said there were 634 more positive cases, bringing the total case count to 15,012. There were 1,948 more tests, bringing the total number of tests to 81,708.

Indiana church limits services to 10 people
A church in suburban Indianapolis resumed in-person services for the first time in a over a month. The iTown Church in Fishers limited the number of attendees to 10 on Sunday in order to adhere to a state order that prohibits gatherings of over 10 people. According to the Indianapolis Star, the 40-minute services began on the hour, with each service followed by a 20-minute period to allow cleaning crews to sterilize the area.

Official: Pandemic ravages Indianapolis trade shows, tourism
A tourism official says the cancellation of conferences and trade shows due to the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on tourism in Indianapolis. Chris Gahl, a senior vice president of marketing for Visit Indy, says his nonprofit is trying to salvage the 2020 events that have been canceled. Gahl says Indianapolis attracted 30 million visitors last year. Typically around 70% of Indianapolis hotel rooms are occupied but hotels are currently at around 7% occupancy. Gov. Eric Holcomb says he hopes to reopen parts of Indiana's economy in May. Organizers of events that attract large crowds may have to wait longer.

April 25, 2020

Indiana reports 44 more virus deaths, 718 more cases
Indiana health officials have added 44 coronavirus deaths to the state's total, bringing it to 785.In addition, the Indiana State Board of Health said Saturday a total of 87 probable deaths have been reported to it, up from 79 on Friday. Probable deaths are those for which a physician listed COVID-19 as a contributing cause based on X-rays, scans and other clinical symptoms but for which no positive test is on record. The agency says 718 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing, bringing to nearly 14,400 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the coronavirus.

April 24, 2020

Indiana lifting more virus limits on medical procedures
Indiana's governor has signed an order largely lifting restrictions on elective medical procedures beginning next week. The restrictions were imposed to help preserve equipment and protective gear for hospitals treating coronavirus patients. The new medical procedure order issued Friday covers providers such as surgery centers and dental, dermatology and veterinary offices, allowing them to resume those procedures as long as they have sufficient protective equipment and procedures to avoid spreading COVID-19. Gov. Eric Holcomb has already removed such restrictions on hospitals.

2nd northern Indiana pork plant closing temporarily
A second pork processing plant in north central Indiana says it's temporarily suspending operations for up to two weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. Indiana Packers Corp. in Delphi issued a statement saying it made the decision in light of increasing numbers of positive tests of COVID-19 in neighboring communities and reports that Indiana was closing in on its expected peak of infections. The company said it has had 15 positive COVID-19 cases. Tyson Foods Inc. announced Wednesday that it was temporarily closing its pork processing plant in Logansport, about 25 miles away, after 146 employees there tested positive for the coronavirus.

Indiana freezes much state hiring with coronavirus tax hit
Indiana's state government has imposed a widespread hiring freeze and other limits on spending as officials brace for a major financial hit from the coronavirus crisis. A memo issued this week by the State Budget Agency directs department leaders to take action for reducing expenses, along with no vehicle or furniture purchases. The state's office of management and budget said no state employees have been laid off yet but officials will look closely before filling any jobs other than those directly helping with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Indiana health officials have added 35 coronavirus deaths to the state's total, bringing it to 741
Most of the newly reported COVID-19 deaths occurred between Monday and Thursday, but one dated to April 2. Gov. Eric Holcomb has talked about easing next week the business and travel restrictions in place under the statewide stay-at-home order if a surge in coronavirus cases doesn't occur and cut into the capacity of hospitals to care for patients.

April 23, 2020

Indiana tops 500,000 job losses; statewide virus study set
Indiana University researchers will be starting a statewide study aimed at determining how widely the coronavirus has been spread. The project announced Thursday intends to take nasal swaps and blood samples from at least 5,000 people selected at radom from all areas of the state. Researchers say information about the overall virus spread isn't available since testing has focused on those seriously ill and health-care workers. The coronavirus is blamed for more than 700 Indiana deaths. More than 500,000 people in Indiana have applied for unemployment benefits over the past five weeks as many businesses and factories have closed down.

Indiana officials report 13,039 positive COVID-19 cases, with 706 deaths
Indiana health officials resolved their earlier technical issue and reported up-to-date COVID-19 data Thursday. They reported 612 new cases and 45 new deaths, bringing the state's total cases to 13,039 and total deaths to 706. There were also 2,594 new tests conducted. There have been 72,040 tests performed in the state.

More than half of the newly recorded COVID-19 deaths reported Thursday occurred Tuesday or Wednesday, but they dated as far back as April 6. Indiana's death count could jump by several dozen on Friday as state officials plan to start including deaths that doctors blame on COVID-19 without test confirmations. Meanwhile, Indiana had about 75,000 new jobless claims filed last week. About 515,000 people in Indiana have now sought unemployment benefits since mid-March.

April 22, 2020

Gary seeks to ramp up COVID-19 testing as state-run screening drive-thru shuts down
Gary officials are scrambling to increase COVID-19 testing, with only a few locations available and a state-run drive-thru site shutting down on Wednesday.

Gary Mayor Jerome Prince said they're working to increase their own testing capacity.

"From the state's perspective, they have told us on a number of occasions that they simply do not have the available testing to send to all the different communities," Prince said.

Indiana cites technical issues as reason for fewer positive COVID-19 cases
Indiana officials announced 394 more COVID-19 cases with 31 additional deaths, bringing the state totals to 12,438 cases and 661 deaths. But residents were warned not to interpret the lower numbers as a decline in new infections, instead saying the new cases and tests reported are lower than expected due to a technology issue. The additional positive cases will be captured in the coming days and reflected appropriately, officials said.

Pence to visit Kokomo GM plant to highlight ventilators
Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Kokomo next week to highlight the production of ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic. Pence's office announced that the former Indiana governor on April 30 will visit a General Motors electronics plant that has been retooled to make the medical devices. On March 18, GM began working with Seattle-area ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems to increase the company's production.

April 21, 2020

Indiana officials won't detail nursing home virus outbreaks
Indiana officials are refusing to identify nursing homes around the state where coronavirus outbreaks have occurred, even as they disclosed that at least 43 more deaths linked to those facilities have happened in the past week. The 162 deaths from 74 facilities that the state health commissioner said had occurred represent nearly 26% of Indiana's COVID-19 fatalities recorded through Monday. The state health commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, declined to identify outbreak locations, saying new federal regulations require nursing homes to notify families about infections and deaths among residents.

Indiana tops 600 COVID-19 deaths as total cases surpass 12K
State health officials say 61 more Indiana residents have died from COVID-19, pushing the state's pandemic death toll to 630 as statewide coronavirus cases surpassed 12,000. The Indiana State Department of Health says the 61 new deaths it reported Tuesday occurred between April 7 and Monday. The state agency says another 431 Indiana residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, bringing Indiana's total to 12,097, following corrections to the previous day's total. A total of 67,264 tests have now been reported to the state health department, with the addition of another 2,641 tests reported Tuesday.

New challenger takes on Indiana attorney general for GOP nod
A southern Indiana prosecutor has launched a new challenge to embattled state Attorney General Curtis Hill's campaign seeking the Republican nomination for another term. Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter announced his candidacy on Tuesday, picking up the endorsement of former Holcomb administration official Adam Krupp, who ended his campaign after entering the attorney general's race in January. The nomination will be decided at June's Republican state convention. Hill awaits a punishment decision from the state Supreme Court over allegations that he drunkenly groped four women during a 2018 party. Hill has denied wrongdoing.

April 20, 2020

Indiana sees 7 more coronavirus deaths, 505 additional cases
State health officials say tests have confirmed that another 505 Indiana residents are infected with the coronavirus, bringing the state's total number of cases to nearly 11,700. Seven new COVID-19 deaths occurred between Wednesday and Sunday, boosting the statewide death toll to 569 in little more than five weeks since Indiana's first known death. About 89% of Indiana's deaths have been among people ages 60 and older, but the state health department website shows at least one person in their 20s has died. Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Friday he would be extending the statewide stay-at-home order until May 1 .

Student-run Purdue farm raising produce for food banks
Purdue University students who oversee a small community farm are raising crops for local food banks to help feed students and local residents alike during the coronavirus pandemic. The Purdue Student Farm usually sells its produce to Purdue food services for use in the university's dining service. But the farm found itself without customers after on-campus classes were canceled amid the pandemic. Chris Adair manages the students who work at the farm. He tells the Journal and Courier that farm staff are currently harvesting spinach and bagging it for Purdue's own food bank and the Food Finders Food Bank, which serves local residents.

April 19, 2020

State sees 577 new positive COVID-19 cases and 17 more deaths the state works to expand testing sites
Indiana is ramping up its COVID-19 testing with extended hours at drive-thru sites.

Testing is available Monday through Friday at Saint Timothy Church in Gary. The clinics are scheduled to run from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m., or until testing supplies run out.

Indiana's COVID-19 death toll jumped by 17 people Sunday. The state also announced 577 new cases, bringing the state's total over 11,000.

Indiana residents join group loaning RVs amid virus outbreak

Indiana residents are lending a hand in a national initiative that aims to link medical workers up with recreational vehicle owners willing to loan their RVs to nurses, doctors and first responders wanting to protect their families from the coronavirus. Shelly and Milton Trent are loaning their 31-foot travel trailer to Dr. Nick Passafiume, an emergency room doctor in Harrison County. The residents of southern Indiana's Georgetown connected through a Facebook group called "RVs 4 MDs To Fight the Corona Virus." The group was created last month and has grown to include more than 27,000 members across the country.

Coalition seeks halt on southern Indiana highway planning

A coalition of business and environmental groups want state officials to halt planning work on a proposed highway from the Ohio River to Interstate 69 in southern Indiana. The Indiana Department of Transportation has proposed five possible routes for the Mid-States highway from near Rockport north through the Jasper area, then on to I-69. Opponents argue the project shouldn't be advanced while the public is focused on the coronavirus outbreak. They also maintain that a new highway would damage forests and caves. Project spokeswoman Mindy Peterson said no planning delays are expected and that the highway has been discussed for many years.

April 18, 2020

Protesters gather at governor's mansion; virus cases up

More than 200 people upset over restrictions on Indiana residents because of the coronavirus protested Saturday outside the state mansion of Gov. Eric Holcomb. They want him to back off and restart the economy. People carrying signs and American flags stood close together along the street outside the home in Indianapolis. Cars passing the scene honked in support, although the rally wasn't as large as a similar event Wednesday in Michigan. One sign said, "If Holcomb's job is essential, everyone's job is essential!"

Indiana sees 529 more COVID-19 cases and 26 more deaths

Indiana officials said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 10,641 cases, with 545 deaths in the state. A total of 56,873 tests have been conducted.

Indiana farmers get ready to plant amid lower grain prices

Wabash Valley farmers are beginning to prepare fields for planting despite facing a downturn as grain prices fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. The start of the planting season looks much better than last year's wet season. But Vigo County farmer Frank Strain said corn prices per bushel have tumbled. Brad Burbrink, an owner of Be-N-Ag Family Farm, said it "doesn't look good." But Burbink said soil conditions are good for planting, even if demand for corn and soybeans have hurt bushel prices.

Anonymous donors pay water and sewer bills for Indiana town

Residents in a small Indianapolis suburb have one less thing to worry about during the coronavirus pandemic. Anonymous businesses have paid off everyone's water and sewer bill for April in Fortville, just northeast of Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Star reports that the businesses paid water and sewer bills for all of the roughly 4,000 residents in the Hancock County town. Fortville town manager Joe Renner says residents said the donation totaled more than $210,000.

April 17, 2020

Indiana Gov. Holcomb to extend stay home order to May 1

Gov. Eric Holcomb says his executive stay home order for Indiana that expires Monday will be extended to May 1 as planning is underway to reopen parts of the state's economy.

Holcomb says ideas are being sought from various business sectors on on how they can safely reopen for operators, workers and customers. Meanwhile, state health officials say Indiana's death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has topped 500 and its confirmed cases of COVID-19 has swept past 10,000.

Valparaiso U lays off 200, cuts pay of others over virus

Valparaiso University has laid off 200 employees and has cut the salaries of others to save money during the coronavirus pandemic. The school announced it was furloughing 154 full-time employees and 46 part-time employees. Staff that hasn't been furloughed and earning at least $48,000 annually will have salaries cut 2% or more, depending on the level of pay. The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports other faculty will be encouraged to take voluntary pay cuts that match the scale of reductions taken by others. University President Mark Heckler has taken a 30% pay cut. The layoffs are expected to continue through July 31.

Indiana's COVID-19 death toll surpasses 500

State health officials say Indiana's death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has topped 500 and its confirmed cases of COVID-19 has swept past 10,000.

The Indiana State Department of Health reported Friday that 42 new deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, had raised the state's death toll to 519.

The state agency says 30 of those 42 new deaths had occurred Wednesday and Thursday. Indiana also reported another 642 confirmed coronavirus cases, boosting its total cases to 10,154, following corrections to the previous day's total.

The state says that as of Thursday, 54,785 Indiana residents had been tested for the coronavirus.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb will hold his daily press conference on the state's response at 1:30 p.m.

April 16, 2020

Indiana partners with 6 Midwestern states to coordinate reopening economies
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb joined six other Midwestern governors in a pact to coordinate reopening their state economies amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest agreement includes Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kentucky.

The Midwestern alliance joins pacts on the West Coast and in the Northeast that were announced this week. All together, the 17 states covered by the partnerships are home to nearly half of the country's population.

Holcomb, a Republican, described the pact as a way for state leaders to know what the others are doing.

"We're all thinking about that smart restart - opening of our states in a very gradual, methodical way if the numbers continue to hold and the trends continue to hold," he said.

Indiana's COVID-19 deaths near 500 as unemployment continues to rise
Indiana's number of coronavirus-related deaths in one month has tripled the state's typical level of flu deaths over a seven-month period.

The Indiana State Department of Health announced 41 additional deaths on Thursday, bringing the state's death toll to 477. There are now more than 9,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, according to state health data.

The first reported death in Indiana occurred March 15, with more than three-quarters happening in the past two weeks. Indiana has averaged about 150 flu deaths over a seven-month period in recent years.

Federal statistics show the number of people who have lost jobs in Indiana over the past month has grown to at least 444,000.

ICU beds: 2,926 total capacity
  • 23.8% are being used for COVID-19 patients

  • 31.6% are filled with non-COVID patients

  • 44.6% remain available


  • Ventilators: 2,961 total capacity
  • 14.4% are being used for COVID-19 patients

  • 10% are filled with non-COVID patients

  • 75.6% remain available


  • April 15, 2020

    Families suffering economic losses to get prepackaged meals under Indiana's new COVID-19 program
    A new program aims to improve access to assistance at food banks and pantries across Indiana for residents who need help feeding their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Indiana's Disaster Household Distribution program, which will go into effect Wednesday through May 14.

    Through the program, Indiana's food banks will use a network of new and existing mobile pantries to distribute food packages to those in need.

    Eligible households can receive one prepackaged 25-pound box of food, which can include canned and packaged fruits, vegetables, soups, sauces, noodles, beans, nuts, meats and juices, according to state officials.

    Priority will be given to families suffering significant economic losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

    In order to determine eligibility, residents are advised to contact their local food banks and pantries. To find a food pantry nearby, visit this website here.

    Indiana's COVID-19 cases near 9K, with 436 deaths
    Indiana's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has nearly quadrupled since the beginning of April as state health officials have reported 49 additional deaths.

    The new COVID-19 deaths reported Wednesday occurred between March 28 and Tuesday, increasing the state's total to 436 deaths.

    Indiana confirmed 440 new coronavirus cases between April 12 and April 14, bringing the state's total just under 9,000.

    Indiana's state health commissioner expects the coronavirus illness peak in late April for the Indianapolis area and the first weeks of May for rest of the state.

    ICU beds: 2,948 total capacity
  • 25% are being used for COVID-19 patients

  • 29.4% are filled with non-COVID patients

  • 45.6% remain available


  • Ventilators: 2,895 total capacity
  • 14.6% are being used for COVID-19 patients

  • 11.4% are filled with non-COVID patients

  • 74% remain available


  • April 14, 2020

    Indiana order blocks local bans on virus patient moves
    Nursing homes around Indiana will be allowed to establish facilities specifically for coronavirus patients under an order from the state health commissioner. State health officials say at least 46 residents of 12 long-term care facilities have died from the virus. But an attempt by a nursing home operator to concentrate coronavirus patients at a facility in the southwestern Indiana city of Washington was banned by the county health officer. State health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box says a statewide order can help nursing homes better care for those with coronavirus infections.

    Indiana's COVID-19 death toll nears 400
    ISDH announced 313 new coronavirus cases with 37 additional deaths, bringing the state's total up to 8,527 positive cases and 387 deaths.

    The department also added graphics to the site showing the state's ICU bed and ventilator usage and capacity.

    ICU beds: 2,920 total capacity
  • 24.7% are being used for COVID-19 patients

  • 29% are filled with non-COVID patients

  • 43.3% remain available


  • Ventilators: 2,926 total capacity
  • 14.9% are being used for COVID-19 patients

  • 10.6% are filled with non-COVID patients

  • 75.5% remain available


  • April 13, 2020

    Michigan City extends COVID-19 curfew until May 4

    Michigan City will remain under curfew to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

    The city council met online and voted to extend the mayor's emergency order, which had been set to expire on April 14. It now will remain in effect until May 4.

    People are required to stay inside between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

    4 new drive-thru testing sites open as Indiana's coronavirus cases surpass 8K

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 308, bringing the total to 8,236, State health officials also announced seven additional deaths, bringing the state's total to 350.

    Four new drive-thru testing sites open across the state, the Indiana State Department of Health said.

    The testing site at St. Timothy Community Church in Gary will be open from 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.

    April 12, 2020

    Indiana's COVID-19 cases near 8K
    The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Indiana has reached 7,928 with 343 deaths in the state, according to state health officials.

    April 11, 2020

    New drive-thru testing sites opening soon across Indiana, state officials say
    Indiana health officials announced 537 new coronavirus cases and 30 additional deaths on Saturday.

    The spike brings Indiana's total to 330 deaths and more than 7,400 cases.

    The Indiana State Department of Health also announced that four new drive-thru testing sites will open Monday, including one at St. Timothy Community Church in Gary.

    April 10, 2020

    Indiana students won't have to meet certain education requirements under new order
    Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed an executive order to waive education requirements that cannot be met due to school buildings being closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19

    April 9, 2020

    1:30 p.m.
    Gov. Holcomb issued new guidance for places of worship as people observe Passover and Easter.

    He said churches and synagogues should stay closed and services be held online.

    9 a.m.
    The Indiana State Department of Health reported 408 new cases of coronavirus and 42 new COVID-19 deaths.

    April 8, 2020
    5:40 p.m.
    The mayor of Gary is being tested for COVID-19 after having close contact with the city's health commissioner, who contracted the virus.

    Mayor Jerome Prince said he's feeling fine, but is doing so out of an abundance of caution.

    April 7, 2020
    9:15 a.m.

    An additional 5,943 cases of COVID-19 and 30 deaths were reported by the ISDH . A total of 30,869 tests have been reported to the ISDH.

    April 7, 2020
    5:45 p.m.
    Mayor Duane Parry issued an Executive Order Tuesday declaring a "Local Disaster Emergency in the City of Michigan City." The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday and will last until 11:59 p.m. April 14 unless the council extends the mayor's order until May 4.

    The order includes a mandatory curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., in addition to the closure of nonessential businesses and operations.

    10 a.m.

    The ISDH reported 563 new positive coronavirus cases with 34 additional deaths on Tuesday. The latest numbers bring the total number of COVID-19 cases to 5,507 with 173 deaths in the state.

    Statewide demographics show the virus is impacting more women than men, with women testing positive in more than half of the state's cases. Residents between the ages of 50-59 also make up the most patients at 20.4%. However, most deaths related to COVID-19 in the Indiana are primarily men, and mostly residents 80 and older.

    April 6, 2020

    1:30 p.m.
    Governor Eric Holcomb has extended Indiana's stay-at-home order for two more weeks.

    Essential businesses will also have to limit their store hours and the number of people inside. Holcomb also said non-essential businesses can no longer have in-store sales.

    9 a.m.

    Health officials announced 533 new cases and 12 additional deaths due to coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 4,944 with 139 deaths in the state of Indiana.

    April 5, 2020

    4:00 p.m.

    Indiana health officials confirmed 464 new cases and nine deaths Saturday bringing the total to 4,411 positive COVID-19 cases in the state and 127 deaths.

    April 4, 2020

    9 a.m.

    Indiana health officials announced 3,953 positive COVID-19 cases in the state and 116 deaths.

    April 3, 2020

    1:30 p.m.

    Indiana's stay-at-home order is being extended for two more weeks as the state's number of coronavirus-related topped 100 with the anticipated illness peak still weeks away.

    Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Friday the extension for the order that first took effect March 25 and was set to expire Tuesday.

    Holcomb has repeatedly urged residents to avoid unnecessary trips outside their home and to remain at least six feet from those they don't live with to help stem the virus spread.

    The deaths of 24 more people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday by state health officials.

    9 a.m.

    Indiana officials announced the state has 3,437 positive COVID-19 cases and 102 deaths.

    7 a.m.

    The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced that more than 152,000 Indiana households will receive additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits when April distributions begin April 5. SNAP households which are not currently receiving the maximum allotment will receive additional benefits which bring their allotment amount to the maximum. Households already receiving the maximum benefit will not receive additional benefits.

    April 2, 2020

    1:30 p.m.
    Indiana schools closed through end of school year, Gov. Eric Holcomb says

    Indiana schools will remain closed through the end of the school year to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Thursday.

    9 a.m.

    An additional 474 new COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths were reported by Indiana health officials, bringing the state's total to 3,039 cases and 78 deaths.

    April 1, 2020

    8 p.m.
    Indiana is stressing the importance of social distancing by launching a new statewide campaign.

    It's called #INThisTogether.

    "Our shared goal is simple and straightforward. It is we need to act now, and by doing so, we all are going to save lives," Gov. Eric Holcomb said.

    10 a.m.
    Indiana officials said there are 2,565 positive COVID-19 cases in the state, with 65 deaths. That includes a sixth death in Lake County and one in Jasper County.

    March 31, 2020

    5 p.m.
    Gov. Eric Holcomb has extended requirements for bars, nightclubs and restaurants to stay closed to dine-in patrons until April 6 at 11:59 p.m. They may continue to provide take-out and delivery services.

    Holcomb also signed an executive order to ease government operations, including permitting electronic notary services to remotely review and approve documents.

    The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will hold a virtual job fair for more than 1,000 construction and related positions at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 16.

    The Indiana Commission for Higher Education will offer free virtual FAFSA filing help for students and families from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 4.

    Help will be available through the Commission's Learn More Indiana social media platforms: Facebook (facebook.com/LearnMoreIN), Instagram (@LearnMoreIndiana) and Twitter (@LearnMoreIN).

    10 a.m.
    Indiana officials announced 373 new COVID-19 cases and 14 additional deaths in the state. There are now 2,159 total COVID-19 cases in Indiana with 49 deaths.

    March 30, 2020

    The Indiana State Department of Health announced 272 additional positive coronavirus cases, with three additional deaths.

    March 29, 2020

    Health officials announced 282 new positive coronavirus cases with one additional death in the state Sunday.

    March 28, 2020

    The Indiana State Department of Health announced the state's positive coronavirus cases surpass 1,000 -reaching a new total of 1,232 cases with 31 deaths, including the first COVID-19 death in Lake County.



    March 27, 2020

    Offenders at the Miami Correctional Facility are now producing face masks, personal protection gowns, face shields and hand sanitizer to be used in the fight against COVID-19, Gov. Holcomb said Friday.

    After the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the state, the Department of Correction changed the mission of Indiana Correctional Industry's (ICI) production lines at the facility from offender uniforms to the production of protective equipment.

    March 26, 2020

    Indiana officials are insisting that residents obey the state's stay-at-home order to rein in the coronavirus spread and not take advantage of its travel and work exemptions.

    Those appeals came Thursday as Indiana's death toll from the pandemic has risen by three to 17.

    The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state grew by 170 to 645.

    March 25, 2020

    Indiana health officials announced two additional deaths, bringing the state total to 14 as the total number of cases climbed by 112, for a total of 477 cases.

    March 24, 2020

    Five more deaths have been reported in Indiana from the coronavirus-related illness, giving the state a total of 12 as a statewide stay-at-home order is about to take effect.

    The Indiana State Department of Health reported Tuesday that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grew by 107 to reach a total of 365 across the state.

    March 23, 2020

    11:15 a.m.

    Governor Eric Holcomb issued a stay-at-home order for all residents except those going on essential errands or work in essential services. The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

    9:55 a.m.

    Indiana announced 58 new cases and one additional death, bringing the total number of cases to 259 and total number of deaths to seven.

    March 22, 2020
    Two more people in Indiana have died after testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of Hoosier fatalities to six, the Indiana State Department of Health announced Sunday.

    The patients were over the age of 50 and had underlying medical conditions. They lived in Scott and Marion counties, respectively.

    As of Sunday, 201 Indiana residents have been diagnose with COVID-19, all but one are adults.



    March 21, 2020

    4 p.m.
    Indiana health officials announced the fourth death from COVID-19 in the state, a Delaware County resident over age 60.

    The Indiana State Department of Health said Saturday that the patient had been hospitalized, but officials didn't release any further information.

    9:55 a.m.

    Indiana announced 47 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 126. Three Indiana residents have died from the virus.

    March 20, 2020

    5:05 p.m.
    The Indiana State Health Department confirmed a third resident has died from COVID-19. State health officials said the victim is an adult resident of Marion County over age 60 who had been hospitalized.

    10:45 a.m.
    Indiana moved its primary date from May 5 to June 2, citing concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak.

    9:30 a.m.

    The Indiana State Department of Health reported 23 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 79. That includes two deaths.

    9 a.m.

    The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration will close its Division of Family Resources offices to the public at the end of business Friday. While DFR's physical locations are closed, online and telephone services will continue to operate as normal.

    March 19, 2020

    9:20 a.m.

    Indiana announced 17 new cases in the state, bringing its total to 56. The death toll remained at two.

    March 18, 2020

    3:32 p.m.

    State announces new partnership between the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Eli Lilly and Company, with support from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to accelerate testing in Indiana for COVID-19. Lilly will use its research laboratories to analyze samples taken in Indiana healthcare facilities, including nursing homes and emergency rooms, in an effort to increase the state's ability to conduct testing for COVID-19.

    Gov. Holcomb also announced these additional efforts:

  • The Indiana Department of Education reported that all Indiana public schools are currently closed, using either e-Learning, spring break or waiver days granted by Gov. Holcomb.


  • With more than 512,000 small businesses throughout the state, the governor has requested the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration supporting small businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in Indiana.

  • The program would provide targeted, low-interest loans up to $2 million in order to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of coronavirus. Nonprofits would also be eligible for loan assistance through the program. More information is available at SBA.gov/Disaster.

  • The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will host two live webinars for Hoosiers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

  • The program will cover unemployment eligibility requirements, frequently asked questions, and how to apply for benefits.

    The 30-minute live programs will be held:

    1. Tuesday, March 24, at 10:30 a.m. ET

    2. Wednesday, March 25, at 3 p.m. ET

    To register, visit: https://on.in.gov/UI2020

    9:25 a.m.

    The Indiana State Department of Health reported nine additional cases, bringing the state's total to 39.

    March 17, 2020

    2:30 p.m.

    The School City of Hammond announced it was awaiting confirmation that a transportation department employee had tested positive for COVID-19. That employee's spouse is also a SCH Transportation Department employee and is being quarantined for 14 days. Due to a lack of test kits, the spouse has not yet been tested. The initial employee works as a bus monitor and last worked on March 10. The spouse, a bus driver, serviced routes to Scott MS and Maywood as recently as March 13 on Bus 146. Individual letters are being sent home to inform parents if their child was on any of those routes.

    11 a.m.

    Community Hospital in Munster announced it has a confirmed case of COVID-19. The patient was screened and assessed upon entry and was found to have a slight fever and respiratory symptoms. That person was immediately placed in isolation and appropriate protocols were implemented as the Indiana State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) investigate. Hospital visitation was restricted after the announcement.

    9 a.m.

    Indiana announced its second COVID-19 death, with the total number of cases rising to 30. Officials said the second death was a Johnson County resident over 60. The first death was reported in Marion County.

    March 16, 2020

    2:29 pm.

    Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said the first person has died from COVID-19 in the state.

    Holcomb made the announcement during an afternoon press conference. The patient who passed away was a Marion County resident over age 60 who had been hospitalized as a COVID-19 patient and also suffered from underlying medical conditions.

    The Indiana State Department of Health said the number of coronavirus COVID-19 in the state jumped to 24 on Monday.

    So far, ISDH has conducted 139 tests for COVID-19 in the state.

    The new cases reported Monday include single cases in Bartholomew, Floyd, Marion, Howard and Hendricks counties.

    12 p.m.

    Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb ordered dine-in-restaurants and bars to close in the state.

    March 15, 2020
    The Indiana State Department of Health reported four new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the state's total to 19.

    The new cases involve residents of Hamilton and Marion counties, health officials said.

    State officials have not provided further details on the new cases at this time.

    March 14, 2020
    The Indiana State Department of Health reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the state's total to 15.

    One of the new patients who tested presumptive positive is a resident in LaPorte County in northwest Indiana.

    The other cases involve residents in Marion and Wells counties, state health officials said.

    One of the new cases involves a minor, according to the department.

    March 13, 2020

    1:59 p.m.
    President Donald Trump declares a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.

    10:20 a.m.
    The Indiana State Department of Health reports there are no new presumptive positive cases of coronavirus to report. The state's total confirmed cases of COVID-19 stands at 12.

    March 12, 2020

    Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced additional steps the state will take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Indiana.

    Holcomb initiated actions to:

  • Limit non-essential gatherings to no more than 250 people. This includes any events or gatherings of people in one room or a single space at the same time, such as cafeterias, churches, stadiums, meeting and conference rooms, auditoriums and the like.

    The guidance applies to professional, social, community and similar gatherings.


  • Effective immediately, school corporations will be provided with a 20-day waiver of the required 180 instructional days for use as needed for the remainder of the academic year. The waived days do not need to be used consecutively and can be leveraged as needed.


  • Child care and adult day care facilities should institute social distancing and minimize large gatherings. Temporary suspensions of operations should be done in consultation with the Family and Social Services and ISDH in the instance of documented community spread.


  • Nursing facilities and hospitals should restrict and screen visitors. Any individual who is allowed to visit is restricted to the patient's room. Visitors are not allowed if they display signs or symptoms of illness - especially repository illness, if they ave travel internationally or been in contact with someone with a respiratory illness in the past 14 days, or reside in a community with a known COVID-19 case.


  • The Indiana Department of Corrections has suspended visitation at all facilities as a precaution for the health and safety of IDOC staff and offenders.


  • Individuals over 60 years of age or those with a known underlying health issue should limit their public exposure. Whenever possible, friends and family should arrange to provide food and other essential items.


  • Those who run senior centers or congregate meal services should consider suspending congregate meal services and arrange for home delivery.


  • Encourage businesses to utilize telework policies, if available.


  • Holcomb is also issuing guidance for state employee operations and will suspend all non-essential out-of-state and international travel beginning March 12 for the next 45 days. The state is also providing employees with guidance about the use of leave and remote work options for limited duration while ensuring the delivery of essential state services.

    March 8, 2020

    2nd Indiana case of COVID-19 confirmed in Hendricks County, state health officials say
    Health officials announced the second confirmed case of novel coronavirus. That patient is a resident of Hendricks County who had also recently traveled to Boston for a conference linked to more than a dozen cases of coronavirus across the country.

    March 6, 2020

    1st Indiana case of COVID-19 reported; governor declares public health emergency
    Indiana reported its first case of COVID-19. Governor Eric Holcomb said the patient was a man from Marion County who had a recent history of travel to Boston.

    The Indiana State Department of Health is tracking all new coronavirus cases on their website.



    HOW IT SPREADS


    • Person-to-person: The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (about 6 feet) via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

    • Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects: It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    • When does spread happen? People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    • How efficiently does the virus spread? How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. Another factor is whether the spread continues over multiple generations of people (if spread is sustained). The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in Hubei province and other parts of China. In the United States, spread from person-to-person has occurred only among a few close contacts and has not spread any further to date.

    • There is still more to be learned: COVID-19 is an emerging disease and there is more to learn about its transmissibility, severity, and other features and what will happen in the United States. New information will further inform the risk assessment.

    SYMPTOMS


    • Fever

    • Cough

    • Shortness of breath

    * The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

    RELATED STORIES AND RESOURCES:


    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.