Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb released new steps to be taken to protect Hoosiers from the COVID-19 virus, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
“This is a time when we must do all we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19, protect our most-vulnerable populations and reduce their potential to acquire or spread this virus,” Holcomb said. “While some actions are drastic, now, not later, is the time to act.”
According to a press release from the governor’s office, one of the steps being taken is limiting non-essential gatherings to no more than 250 people.
This includes any event or gathering of people who are in one room or a single space at the same time, such as cafeterias, churches, stadiums, meeting and conference rooms, auditoriums and the like.
This guidance applies to professional, social, community and similar other gatherings. Detailed guidance will be posted on the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) website by the end of the day.
Another step being taken is providing school corporations with a 20-day waiver on the required 180 instructional days to be held in the academic year, according to the press release. The waived days do not have to be consecutive and can be implemented as needed.
If a school corporation has evidence of community spread or a confirmed positive test for coronavirus, officials should consult with the Indiana Department of Education and the ISDH for additional steps. Schools should plan now for broader closures, including e-learning and remote classroom options.
The guidelines for non-essential gatherings apply to schools as well when they make decisions about non-essential extra-curricular or co-curricular activities.
Child care and adult day care facilities should practice social distancing. In the instance of documented community spread, temporary suspension of operations should be done in consultation with the Family and Social Services and ISDH.
Additionally, nursing facilities and hospitals should restrict and screen visitors, and all visitors allowed in are restricted to the patient's room, the press release states.
Visitors will not be allowed if they are displaying any of the following symptoms:
- Display signs or symptoms of illness, especially respiratory illness
- Have traveled internationally or been in contact with someone with a respiratory illness in the past 14 days
- Reside in a community with a known COVID-19 case
- Those who are younger than 18 years of age
The Indiana Department of Correction has suspended visitation at all facilities as a precaution for the health and safety of its staff and offenders in state prisons.
Anyone over 60 years of age or those with a known underlying health issue, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease, should limit their time spent in public. Whenever possible, friends and family should provide food and essential items, the press release states.
Also, any who run senior centers and congregate meal services may consider arranging for home delivery.
For state employees, all non-essential out-of-state and international travel beginning Thursday and for the next 45 days will be suspended.
The state is also providing employees with guidance about the use of leave and remote work options for limited durations while ensuring the delivery of essential state services.
“I fully expect there will be additional actions warranted in the coming days,” Holcomb said. “Just as we have since the beginning of the year, we are working with partners at all levels to secure all necessary resources for any escalation of this virus.”