NewsHealth / March 25, 2020

Coronavirus: Child Care, Gig Economy Workers Up In The Air; 'Stay-At-Home' Order Begins

Article origination IPBS-RJC
After Gov. Eric Holcomb's "Stay-At-Home" order went into effect, non-essential businesses were required to close – including car washes, hair salons and spas. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

After Gov. Eric Holcomb's "Stay-At-Home" order went into effect, non-essential businesses were required to close – including car washes, hair salons and spas.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Two more Hoosiers died from COVID-19 Wednesday according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Both were over the age of 60 and had underlying health conditions – one was from Hancock County and one was from Howard County. More than 475 cases have been confirmed, as more than 3,300 tests have been confirmed by the state health department.

Holcomb: Indiana’s Economy Is Going To Bounce Back

Indiana officials are still optimistic the state’s economy will bounce back from the effects of the novel coronavirus.

Congress is close to approving a $2 trillion stimulus package that will help states, businesses and workers. Indiana officials say that will bolster the state’s already strong position to combat economic hardships due to the coronavirus.

Touting the state’s economic stability, Gov. Eric Holcomb says the more than $2 billion in state surplus money can help boost Indiana’s recovery from a recession.

“Hoosiers should know that this is the exact reason why we were so fiscally prudent year after year after year after year,” he says. “When I said we were going to war with this, that wasn’t rhetorical, I didn’t say it for effect. We weren’t trying to amass a surplus for a bumper sticker slogan, it was for this day.”

READ MORE: Can I Go For A Walk? Here's What A 'Stay-At-Home' Order Really Does

LEE MAS: ¿Qué Necesita Saber Acerca Del Coronavirus? Tenemos Respuestas.

But two major issues remain unresolved. Indiana officials say they hope to have help soon for Hoosiers in need of child care and “gig economy” workers.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick says securing child care opportunities for health care and public safety workers – in the wake of school closures from COVID-19 – is a top priority. She says the state is working to identify available resources and regions most in need.

Also currently without answers: self-employed Hoosiers and independent contractors who are unable to access unemployment benefits. State leaders – like Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Fred Payne – say they’re excited about the help that’s likely to arrive from the latest federal stimulus package.

Holcomb Vetoes Landlord Bill

Holcomb vetoed a bill Wednesday night passed by the Indiana General Assembly that would have altered landlord/tenant laws in Indiana . The bill would have prohibited local municipalities from infringing on landlord/tenant agreements.

Citing concerns about the bill’s broad language in a letter to lawmakers, Holcomb vetoed his second piece of legislation as governor. 

“Since the Indiana General Assembly adjourned just two weeks ago, circumstances have changed dramatically and I have taken numerous steps to protect Hoosiers from the spread and effects of COVID-19,” Holcomb said in his letter. 

Indiana has some of the highest eviction rates in the country.

Career And Technical Education Guidance

As Indiana school buildings are ordered closed until May, hands-on classes in career and technical education are being forced to adapt. The Indiana Office of Career and Technical Education gave some answers Wednesday on how educators can still meet course requirements.

Students won’t be penalized for staying at home and local school districts have authority on how to award high school credit.

For 61,000 students getting college credits in high school, things will be a bit different for at least the next month. Dual enrollment students will attend class online, while dual credit classes will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

For certifications, some industry exams are allowing testing online while others have shifted to appointments only.

Vincennes University Donates Supplies

Vincennes University’s College of Health Sciences and Human Performance has donated hundreds of masks, gowns, gloves, shoe covers, sterile cleaning products, and other supplies to medical professionals at Good Samaritan Hospital and Daviess Community Hospital in Washington.

VU faculty scoured labs and classrooms last weekend for items to donate. They ended up filling two pick-up trucks with supplies.

Staff are also responding to requests for sewn masks, by donating them to pharmacy and grocery store staff. 

IU Health Bloomington Sets Up Outdoor COVID-19 Screening Site

Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital is setting up an outdoor screening and testing site in preparation for accepting more COVID-19 patients, an official said Wednesday.

A yellow tent surrounded by yellow caution tape now stands just outside the hospital doors.

“In an effort to provide and protect our patients and team members, we have established a temporary structure as part of our COVID-19 screening area,” Katy Howe, the hospital’s director of emergency services, said in a statement.

The statement reiterated that COVID-19 testing must be ordered by a physician. Anyone concerned they might have symptoms needs to consult their own health care provider.

University Of Evansville Postpones Commencement

The University of Evansville has pushed its spring commencement ceremony to September, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a release, the university said the decision was made “after much discussion and input from students, faculty, and staff.”

The announcement followed word last week that UE would complete the current semester online. 

It joins Purdue, Butler, Ball State and Indiana University in postponing commencement ceremonies.

Indianapolis Repertory Theatre Goes Virtual

Like many Indianapolis area arts organizations, concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic led the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre to cancel the rest of its 2019-2020 season. 

But ticket holders to the IRT’s current play, "Murder On the Orient Express," have the opportunity to enjoy a virtual performance of the show.

Contact Lauren at or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.

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