INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI) - Governor Eric Holcomb announced more restrictions to public life amid coronavirus concerns at the Indiana Statehouse on Monday.
"To those who think we are overreacting I can assure you that we are not," he said. "We are, make no mistake about it, at war with COVID-19 and we will win this war."
This declaration of war came just after the news that Indiana has lost its first Hoosier to coronavirus, and that is one death too many.
"On behalf of the entire state of Indiana, we want to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family," he said.
The Indiana State Department of Health confirmed patient was a Marion county adult. They were over the age of 60 and had underlying medical issues that made them high risk. Dr. Ram Yeleti, MD said they didn't have to die now.
"The problem is this individual would not have died if it was not for the COVID-19 infection," he said.
Only nursing staff was able to be with them when they died.
"What makes this really hard is that this individual's significant other was also infected and so the two of them could not be together when this patient passed," he said. They were able to be with each other through a video chat. Governor Holcomb shook his head in sadness as Dr. Yeleti explained the situation.
Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box confirmed that more testing supplies is making its way to Indiana this week. However, she cautioned that these tests should be reserved for those who have a high risk. She advises that any relatively healthy person who many be suffering from coronavirus symptoms should simply put themselves into a two-week quarantine in their home until they recover. She said only the elderly and those with underlying health issues should be physically tested.
Governor Holcomb is taking the restrictions up a notch. All restaurants, bars and nightclubs across the state are directed to stop dining-in services. Restaurants can still do take-out and delivery.
News 18 asked the governor exactly when these restrictions would go into effect.
"Not asking but directing restaurants throughout the state of Indiana to be winding down today (Monday March 16th), tomorrow will change," he replied. He did not give a specific time it would go into effect.
State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick also addressed the media today. She said there are 273 school districts across the state that are operating on e-learning. She said they are working with superintendents across the state to address issues of meals, support resources and daycare.
State Senator Ron Alting and State Representative Sheila Klinker both were in attendence at the statehouse as state leaders gave the latest updates on the situation. They said this will have a huge impact on Tippecanoe and surrounding county's economies.
"It's going to be a challenge for Hoosiers, but Hoosiers will prevail but it's going to mean sacrifices for all of us," said Alting.
"This is a bi-partisan effort and the governor is working with many of us to make sure we're doing the best job we can," said Klinker.
Governor Holcomb is warning Hoosiers that these restrictions could go well past the end of March, potentially 60 to 90 days. He said restrictions will be in place as long as they are necessary.