(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana’s stay-home order takes effect at midnight Tuesday night, and Governor Holcomb says the state won’t rush to end it.
Holcomb warns Indiana risks becoming Italy or New York if it doesn’t act aggressively to slow the spread of coronavirus. He says you need only look at Marion County’s infection rate to see the risks — the county’s 161 coronavirus cases represent nearly half the statewide total, and health commissioner Kristina Box warns the pandemic is still in its early stages.
Holcomb had said last week he wasn’t ready to order Hoosiers to stay home. On Monday, he became the 14th governor to do so — three more states have followed since. Holcomb says he issued the order after reviewing the trendline in the states where the virus showed up first. Box says states like Washington and California had a two-week head start on Indiana, and Holcomb warns the state can’t risk being where those states are now two weeks from now.
The order to stay home and close all nonessential businesses is in effect for two weeks. State Police
Superintendent Doug Carter says he’s instructed troopers and urged local police departments to use
discretion in enforcing the order. Holcomb says it’s not meant to be a “hammer,” but to send Hoosiers a clear message of how serious the epidemic is and seek their buy-in to keep its impact as minimal as possible.
13 Hoosiers have died from the virus so far, and Box warns the illness won’t be limited to senior citizens but will affect all age groups. Holcomb notes even if you have low-grade symptoms, you’re still a carrier, and the person you pass the virus too may be hit much harder,. He says the whole point of the stay-home order is to minimize that spread so hospitals can keep up.
Community Health Network has issued a plea for donations of masks, gowns and other protective gear. Box says state prisoners have been put to work sewing masks, and Holcomb says an anonymous donor dropped off 150 surgical masks at the State Department of Health. The state is also expecting more of its population-determined share from a national stockpile.
Eskenazi Health will run a special quarantine shelter for the homeless who otherwise don’t have anywhere to hunker down, using a $5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment. And Holcomb says he’ll announce steps on Wednesday to help independent contractors who can’t file for unemployment.