NewsHealth / April 1, 2020

Coronavirus: Officials Confident Testing Is Increasing, Federal Law Provides Paid Leave

Coronavirus: Officials Confident Testing Is Increasing, Federal Law Provides Paid LeaveThe Indiana State Department of Health reported 16 additional deaths Wednesday, bringing the state's total to 65. The state announced a total of 2,565 confirmed cases, with more than 14,000 Hoosiers tested. coronavirus, COVID-192020-04-01T00:00:00-04:00
Article origination IPBS-RJC
Coronavirus: Officials Confident Testing Is Increasing, Federal Law Provides Paid Leave

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The Indiana State Department of Health reported 16 additional deaths Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 65. The state announced a total of 2,565 confirmed cases, with more than 14,000 Hoosiers tested. 

Officials Confident COVID-19 Testing Is Increasing

Indiana officials say the state’s capacity to test people for COVID-19 is increasing, even as the growth in testing slowed over the last few days.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box says some of that is because the state can’t control when outside labs report their testing numbers. She says she’s confident testing is increasing.

“I can just tell you that I know that we had Deaconess Hospital come online with testing," Box says. "We have individuals working at Purdue University to get more testing. We have the new lab in the northwest part of the state that is doing testing.”

Indiana limits testing to people who are hospitalized, health care workers, first responders and front-line essential workers, like grocery store cashiers, and, now, symptomatic people who are in high-risk categories, including pregnant women.

Federal Law Provides Workers Paid Leave Due To Virus

A federal law took effect Wednesday requiring some employers to give paid sick and family leave to workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hoosier businesses covered by the law will have to comply or face penalties.

The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act applies to private businesses with 500 or fewer employees and some public agencies. It requires that employers give workers up to two weeks of paid sick leave if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis. It also provides paid family leave to help workers care for children out of school or childcare services due to the virus. 

Indiana Organizations Receive COVID-19 Grants From Lilly Endowment

The Lilly Endowment is giving Indiana organizations millions of dollars in grants in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The philanthropic organization is giving about $30 million to Indiana United Ways to help statewide. Additional funding will go to the United Way of Central Indiana.

The Salvation Army’s Indiana Division will receive a $5 million grant to help sustain services in response to COVID-19.

READ MORE: United Way Of Monroe County Emergency Relief Fund Gives Nearly $300K In Community Grants

On Wednesday morning, volunteers and staff from Second Harvest Food Bank arrived in Portland, Indiana, giving away food at one of its scheduled “tailgates.”

“Today we are giving everyone ‘three full families’ worth of supplies per car,” says Robby Tompkins, the food bank’s director of philanthropy. “No matter how much you have or how many people you have per vehicle, you get a supply that would ideally serve three families.”

All IN: A Guide To Getting Outside During A Pandemic

Outdoor activities are an exception to the governor's "Stay-At-Home" order. Where can you still go, and what do you need to know about getting outside during a pandemic?

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

LEE MAS: ¿Puedo Salir A Caminar? Esto Es Lo Que Significa Una Orden De Permanecer En Casa

All IN talked to an Indiana State Parks official about the safest way to use the parks, should you decide to venture out. And they highlight some of the best locations for spring wildflowers and birdwatching. All IN also talked to the head of the Indiana Trails Community about current protocol to use walking and biking trails.

Martinsville Marathon Fires Employee Involved In COVID Discrimination

A Marathon gas station on the southwest side of Martinsville has fired the employee who allegedly refused service to two separate people of Asian descent last week in coronavirus-related discrimination.

According to Martinsville Police Chief Kurt Spivey, the former employee allegedly refused to serve a 29-year-old woman last Tuesday.

“Last week our dispatch center was contacted, and someone wanted to report that his girlfriend of Asian descent had been asked to leave the gas station in question,” Spivey says. “And it was clearly due to racial discrimination. She was asked to leave, and it was directly related to the COVID-19 virus.”

Health Care Workers Feeling Stress Of Coronavirus Threat

Health care workers are under immense pressure amid the coronavirus pandemic. They face shortages of protective equipment such as gloves and masks. They’re pulling long shifts. And they risk being infected with the virus. 

So it's no surprise that the language of the pandemic is one of wartime – nurses and doctors fighting on the frontlines against what some politicians have called an “invisible enemy.”

“I hear nurses every day, they describe it as a war zone,” says Emily Sego, a chief nurse executive at a large hospital group in Indianapolis. Sego is also president of the Indiana State Nurses Association. 

Sego oversees more than 1,000 nurses and says equipment shortages force staff to reuse materials. 

“You can only imagine what that must feel like sticking your mask in this little brown paper bag and putting your name on it for the next day, and hoping that that is going to protect you for your next shift,” she says.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org 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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