NewsHealth / May 21, 2020

Coronavirus: State Can't Test Every Nursing Home Resident, Unemployment Holds Steady

Coronavirus: State Can't Test Every Nursing Home Resident, Unemployment Holds SteadyThe Indiana State Department of Health reported 48 additional confirmed deaths on Thursday, bringing the state's total to 1,764. The state announced nearly 30,000 total confirmed cases, with nearly 203,000 Hoosiers tested.coronavirus, COVID-192020-05-21T00:00:00-04:00
Article origination IPBS-RJC
Coronavirus: State Can't Test Every Nursing Home Resident, Unemployment Holds Steady

An AT&T store in Carmel offers patrons curbside service only due to coronavirus.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 48 additional confirmed deaths on Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 1,764. The state announced nearly 30,000 total confirmed cases, with nearly 203,000 Hoosiers tested.

Box Says State Can't Test Every Nursing Home Resident As White House Recommends

State Health Commissioner Kris Box says Indiana can’t test every nursing home resident and employee by next week, as the White House recommends. 

The state has repeatedly been pressured to release the names of long-term care facilities that have positive COVID-19 cases. But state officials refuse to do so. Box insists she’s not trying to protect anyone by shielding the information.

“What I am trying to do is emphasize the importance of that communication occurring between the facility, with the residents and with their representatives,” Box says.

READ MORE: Indiana Won’t Name Nursing Homes With COVID-19 Outbreaks

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Hunting In Indiana Is Up During The COVID-19 Pandemic

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has seen an increase in hunting licenses recently, likely due to “Stay-At-Home” orders and unemployment from COVID-19. It's the first time license sales have been up in several years. 

DNR Director Cameron Clark says hunting license sales have gone up by about 13,000 — especially for spring turkey hunts. He says combination hunting and fishing licenses are also up by about 1,800.

“With the 'Stay-At-Home' order and some people out of work, we figured more people had the time to get out and hunt,” Clark says.

Initial Unemployment Claim Numbers Hold Steady, But Still Larger Than Usual

After six weeks of steep declines, the number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits in Indiana remained largely unchanged last week. That’s based on data released Thursday by the Department of Labor.

Last week, 30,311 Hoosiers applied for unemployment benefits. It’s only about 400 fewer people than the week before when 30,691 Hoosiers started claims.

New SNAP Delivery Benefit To Help Vulnerable Hoosiers

Indiana will step up the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. A new addition to the program will allow services to deliver groceries to vulnerable people.

The move could help the increasing number of people who rely on food assistance and many seniors using SNAP who should continue to stay home to avoid contact with COVID-19.

For Delbert Easley, it’s not the quarantine part of the pandemic that’s been tough.

"I’m a homebody anyway," says Easley. 

Retired and living on a limited income and disability, Easley uses food assistance. He’s visited a couple of drive-thru pantries. A senior service group has also started to deliver him frozen meals.

Dubois County Dealing with COVID-19 Outbreak at Turkey Processing Plant

A week after an outbreak of COVID-19 at a turkey processing plant in Huntingburg, Dubois County health officials are confident the outbreak is contained to that facility.

At a news conference Thursday in Jasper, Dubois County health officials confirmed that a strike team from the Indiana State Department of Health tested workers at the Farbest Foods processing plant.

WFIE-TV reported that nearly 600 employees were tested at the plant last week – 106 results came back positive for COVID-19. The plant was closed for several days but has since reopened. Huntingburg Mayor Dennis Spinner says he’s happy with the response by local and state health teams.

All IN: What Is Work Sharing, And Why Doesn't Indiana Have It?

Work share programs help businesses avoid layoffs, especially during economically difficult times. But Indiana is not among the nearly 30 states that have it, and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration is taking heat for not taking advantage of a chance for the federal government to help.

All IN talked to a panel of experts and advocates to find out what some say a work-share program could accomplish, and how it would help both employees and employers get throughout the pandemic. And they talked about why state lawmakers have dismissed attempts to create the program for years.

DNR Campsites, Inns Reopen Friday In Stage 3 Of Holcomb's ‘Back On Track’ Plan

As part of Stage 3 in Gov. Eric Holcomb’s “Back On Track” timeline to reopen the Indiana’s economy, many DNR run facilities will reopen Friday, May 22.

This week, Holcomb announced most of Indiana would be moving into Stage 3 of reopening Indiana’s economy a couple of days earlier than the originally expected date – which was Sunday, May 24. 

People can now reserve a DNR campsite or cabin for the coming holiday weekend on their website.

Class Action Complaint Brought Against Purdue University

A class action complaint was filed against the Purdue University Board of Trustees for COVID-19 related tuition and fee reimbursements. 

The complaint was filed May 20 in the Tippecanoe County Circuit Court by Indianapolis-based Cox Law Office and Charleston, South Carolina-based Anastopoulo Law Firm.

This is the same group that filed a similar complaint against Indiana University earlier this month. 

The plaintiff, in this case, is Elijah Seslar who is an Indiana resident and Purdue University Fort Wayne undergraduate finance student, according to the complaint. 

The complaint states it is seeking reimbursement for services not delivered to students. 

IU Announces Plan For Testing Students, Faculty, And Staff With COVID-19 Symptoms

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie announced Thursday the next steps in resuming operations, beginning with testing availability for students, faculty, and staff.

IU and partner IU Health have entered into an agreement to make testing available to all persons in the IU community who have symptoms of COVID-19 -- those who think they have COVID-19 can start a screening through One.IU on June 1st.

Screening resources are available to all IU students, faculty, and staff even if they are not currently in the state. After a person is screened, a medical provider will determine if a test is needed.

If a patient is recommended for testing, they will be referred to one of 15 IU or IU Health testing site locations.

All samples will be sent to IU Health’s pathology lab in Indianapolis.

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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