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 issued Tuesday by the state health commissioner. The action came after state health officials said Indiana’s COVID-19 death toll had grown by 37 to 387.

Posted: Apr 15, 2020 8:58 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nursing homes around Indiana will be allowed to establish facilities specifically for coronavirus patients under an order issued Tuesday by the state health commissioner. The action came after state health officials said Indiana’s COVID-19 death toll had grown by 37 to 387.

NURSING HOMES

Elderly people and those with serious health troubles living in nursing homes are among the most at-risk from COVID-19 infections. At least 46 residents of 12 long-term care facilities in Indiana have died from the virus, including 22 patients from an Anderson nursing home, according to the state health department.

But an attempt by a nursing home operator to concentrate coronavirus patients at a facility in the southwestern Indiana city of Washington met opposition from local residents and was banned by the county health officer. Officials in eastern Indiana’s Delaware County issued a similar order earlier this month.

Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said she has worked closely with local health departments but the statewide order can help nursing homes protect residents who aren’t ill and better care for those who are infected.

“We fully believe that this is a necessary step to help to further protect the vulnerable residents in our 92 counties,” Box said.

The Indiana Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes, said in a statement that the state should help identify alternative treatment locations for COVID-19 patients and make sure long-term care workers have adequate protection supplies.

AFRICAN AMERICAN CONCERNS

Some state lawmakers called Tuesday for Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration to take more steps to protect African Americans from the coronavirus.

About 20% of Indiana’s virus deaths have been black residents, about double their percentage of the state population. African Americans around the country have been dying at higher rates.

Members of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus said the state should increase testing in neighborhoods with large minority populations and require paid time off for workers in low-paid jobs in groceries and restaurants who can’t afford to miss work when they are ill.

Democratic Rep. Robin Shackleford of Indianapolis, the group’s chairwoman, said since African Americans suffer from higher rates of obesity, diabetes and asthma, more has to be done to emphasize the dangers of the virus.

“Because we have these prior conditions, because we may be more susceptible if we get the virus it could be very deadly,” Shackleford said. “I don’t think that message has been getting out.”

Box said Tuesday that the health department was working to increase testing availability in cities such as Gary, Fort Wayne and Evansville at locations accessible to minority workers.

ADDITIONAL DEATHS

The latest reported deaths included one that occurred on March 15, which is a day before what had been Indiana’s first recorded COVID-19 death.

Indiana’s official toll didn’t yet include the state’s first prison inmate fatality, which occurred Monday at Westville Correctional Facility. The inmate was older than 70, according to the state Department of Correction. Tests confirmed virus infections among 27 inmates at seven of Indiana's 22 prison system facilities, the agency's commissioner said Monday.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and other prisoner advocates have unsuccessfully pushed for the release of prison inmates who face greater risk from virus infections because of other illnesses. Holcomb repeated his stance Tuesday against the early release of any inmates.

State health officials added 313 more COVID-19 cases to make Indiana’s total more than 8,500.

West Lafayette
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 18°
Kokomo
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 15°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 18°
Fowler
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 18°
Williamsport
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 20°
Crawfordsville
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 16°
Frankfort
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 16°
Delphi
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 20°
Monticello
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 20°
Logansport
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 22°
A windy and chilly day is expected. Tonight could be the coldest night of the season so far.
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1118335

Reported Deaths: 17712
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1455892240
Lake724831254
Allen67063882
Hamilton51060487
St. Joseph49820649
Elkhart40268546
Vanderburgh34714497
Tippecanoe30808276
Johnson27696467
Hendricks26313385
Porter25657386
Madison21131455
Clark20238279
Vigo19059309
LaPorte17192261
Howard16770314
Delaware16761303
Monroe16628220
Kosciusko14293167
Hancock13113186
Bartholomew12983190
Warrick12210190
Wayne12090269
Floyd12011226
Grant11998245
Morgan10409192
Boone9869124
Noble9316122
Henry9177169
Marshall9152147
Dearborn8970100
Dubois8835140
Shelby8281130
Cass8167128
Lawrence8057185
DeKalb7817109
Jackson770793
Huntington7661115
Gibson7102118
Montgomery7101123
Harrison6954100
Knox6915116
Steuben669089
Whitley659660
Miami6595113
Putnam645085
Clinton627179
Wabash6221111
Jasper613192
Jefferson5856105
Ripley557294
Adams542281
Daviess5076117
Scott491580
Wells4836105
White478469
Greene4701101
Clay464662
Decatur4611110
Fayette452496
Jennings452067
LaGrange427491
Posey410044
Randolph3944107
Washington390956
Fountain375964
Fulton364874
Spencer362247
Starke355574
Owen353577
Sullivan348555
Orange331372
Jay331050
Rush309533
Carroll296239
Franklin292744
Perry290553
Vermillion283658
Tipton251167
Parke250130
Pike248644
Blackford222144
Pulaski210359
Newton182452
Brown177550
Crawford169129
Benton168417
Martin152120
Switzerland147612
Warren135816
Union122616
Ohio92413
Unassigned0595

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events