INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor said Monday he was easing restrictions on hospitals from performing elective surgeries even as the state health commissioner remained concerned over whether coronavirus infections were slowing in the state.
Gov. Eric Holcomb said while he was extending the statewide stay-at-home order until May 1, hospitals would be allowed starting Tuesday to resume procedures to diagnose and treat medical conditions. A halt to elective procedures had been ordered last month to help preserve hospital equipment and protective gear if needed to treated people seriously ill with COVID-19 respiratory infections.
State officials have not reported shortages of hospital beds and equipment such as ventilators even as Indiana’s coronavirus death toll has topped 550 in little more than five weeks since the state’s first known death.
Holcomb said if state medical supplies remain adequate, then more procedures at clinics and surgery centers could be allowed next week.
Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, has said she expected the coronavirus illness peak to arrive in late April for the Indianapolis area and the first weeks of May for rest of the state, which is the time period Holcomb has said he might start lifting some business and travel restrictions.
Box said Monday she wasn’t “100% convinced” has reached its illness peak and will continue reviewing the state’s caseload.
“It has shown consistently we are running much lower than the original projections and that we are very much running along the lowest-expected line as we model this,” Box said.
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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, state health officials said Monday.
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 from the respiratory disease caused by the virus, the Indiana State Department of Health reported.
About 89% of Indiana’s deaths have been among people ages 60 and older, but demographic information on the agency’s website shows that at least one person in their 20s has died with a coronavirus infection.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Friday that he would be extending the statewide stay-at-home order until May 1 to slow the coronavirus spread. Holcomb was expected Monday afternoon to discuss details of the revised order that will take effect Tuesday.
Holcomb said state officials are working on plans for easing some restrictions on businesses.