NewsHealth / April 27, 2020

Coronavirus: State Orders Daily Virus Updates From Nursing Homes, GM Hiring Temp Workers

Coronavirus: State Orders Daily Virus Updates From Nursing Homes, GM Hiring Temp WorkersThe Indiana State Department of Health reported 31 additional deaths on Monday, bringing the state's total to 844. The state announced nearly 16,000 total confirmed cases, with more than 84,000 Hoosiers tested.coronavirus, COVID-192020-04-27T00:00:00-04:00
Article origination IPBS-RJC
Coronavirus: State Orders Daily Virus Updates From Nursing Homes, GM Hiring Temp Workers

Signs detail the restrictions for visitors at St. Joseph Hospital in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 31 additional deaths on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 844. The state announced nearly 16,000 total confirmed cases, with more than 84,000 Hoosiers tested.

State Orders Nursing Homes To Give Daily COVID-19 Updates To Residents, Families

Indiana will now require long-term care facilities – such as nursing homes – to dedicate a staff member for communicating with residents and their families on COVID-19 information.

Communications at these facilities have been a source of ongoing controversy through the pandemic, with reports of little to no information from some homes.

Family and Social Services Administration Chief Medical Officer Dan Rusyniak says every resident and their family has a right to know what’s going on in their facility.

“And if families do not feel like they are getting this communication, we have laid out a way that they can reach out to us,” Rusyniak says.

One Week Left Until Voter Registration Deadline For Indiana's June 2 Primary

Hoosiers have one week left to register to vote for Indiana’s 2020 primary election.

When Indiana moved its primary back to June 2 (from May 5) due to the COVID-19 crisis, the state election commission had to move the rest of its deadlines to compensate.

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

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana 2020 Two-Way. Text "elections" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on COVID-19 and the 2020 election.

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

The first is the voter registration deadline: that’s now Monday, May 4 by the end of the day. Hoosiers can register online at IndianaVoters.com.

GM Hiring More Than 1,000 Temp Workers To Produce Ventilators At Kokomo Facility

General Motors is hiring more than 1,000 temporary workers to produce ventilators at its facility in Kokomo.

The positions have been created in response to a national shortage of the machines that are used to help patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development will host a virtual job fair on May 6 to detail requirements, benefits and safety protocols at the facility.

Indiana Announces Additions To Food Stamp Benefits

Indiana is making two significant changes to its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, often called food stamps.

One of those changes is temporary, during the COVID-19 crisis, while the other is permanent.

First, families with children who are currently eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches will now get money through SNAP.

“For households receiving SNAP benefits, the additional benefits will be added to their existing EBT cards,” Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Jennifer Sullivan says. “Households not currently receiving benefits will receive a new pandemic EBT card in the mail, with benefits automatically added. You don’t have to do anything to receive these new benefits.”

Logansport, Cass County Tighten Restrictions As COVID-19 Cases Surpass 1,000

Logansport and Cass County officials have approved an order that tightens restrictions on businesses to try to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the county, after declaring a public health emergency today.

Last week, the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Logansport announced it was temporarily shutting down after more than 140 employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Today, the largely rural county reported 1,025 confirmed cases of the disease – third most in the state. Per 10,000 residents, it has the highest rate of the virus – more than five times the rate of Marion County.

“All individuals and high-risk populations, including the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions, are strongly encouraged to avoid all public gatherings and to minimize all travel to the maximum extent possible,” Logansport Mayor Chris Martin says.

Remote Work Will Continue For Purdue Employees After ‘Stay-At-Home’ Order Is Lifted

Purdue University announced Monday employees who are able to work remotely should continue to do so even if Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s "Stay-At-Home” order is lifted

Vice President for Human Resources Bill Bell said in a letter that more on-campus research activity could start being permitted; after July 1, campus access could be increased for residential coursework, additional research activities, and employees who work in student support -- but other staff should plan to continue working from home even after July 1.

Telehealth Surges During COVID-19 Crisis, But Will It Last?

The coronavirus pandemic has forced hospitals and doctors to move much of their work online. That shift to telehealth required big changes – from relaxing federal regulations to getting buy-in from doctors. Now the question is whether it can sustain the momentum built amid "Stay-At-Home" orders.

As COVID-19 cases piled up, new guidance from the federal government helped clear the way. Telehealth, which had been restricted to rural areas, was made available to patients across the U.S. And providers were allowed to use services like Skype or Facetime that lack tough privacy protections.

“It was quite immediately helpful,” Dr. Joe Parks, medical director of the National Council for Behavioral Health says. “Many of the things they're allowing now are things that the field has been asking for years.”

Libraries Continue to Serve Communities Digitally Despite Closures

Libraries across the country have had to close their doors in response to COVID-19, cutting off in-person programming and services that communities may rely on. Libraries in northeast Indiana are working hard to figure out the best ways to continue to serve people and offer resources directly to their homes.

To parents or children, the sound of a library storytime might be familiar. It’s an opportunity for children to sit together and engage in a story while a librarian reads aloud to them.

As the coronavirus became a threat in Indiana, libraries throughout the state began to close their doors. This meant ceasing in-person rentals, group activities and the loss of a space with free wifi and computer access for community members.

But librarians aren’t just giving up on offering services during this time. Jamie Long is the programming and outreach manager at Eckhart Public Library in Auburn. She says they’ve had to switch their focus..

“We really are focusing a lot on ways that we can get to our patrons digitally,” Long 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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