INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Another person in Indiana has been sickened by the coronavirus, increasing the state's number of cases to 12, the Indiana State Department of Health announced Thursday.
The latest new case is in Marion County, giving that county that includes Indianapolis its second case, the department said. It also confirmed a case in St. Joseph County that was reported by local health officials Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a worker at Fiat Chrysler’s transmission factory in Kokomo has tested positive for the coronavirus. Company officials said the factory was still operating Thursday after his work area was disinfected and co-workers who were in direct contact with him were quarantined at their homes.
Fiat Chrysler said in a statement that the worker is getting medical care and that the company is working with local health authorities.
It’s the first known case of coronavirus in a U.S. auto factory.
Fiat Chrysler said it deep-cleaned and disinfected his work area following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control after finding out about the worker on Wednesday. The company added sanitization measures for the whole plant and changed the timing of work breaks to avoid crowding, its statement said.
As the number of cases in Indiana grew, so did the number of colleges and universities extending spring breaks, temporarily canceling classroom instruction or taking other steps to prevent the spread of the disease. They now include Butler, Ball State, DePauw, Indiana State, Valparaiso, Vincennes, the University of Evansville, Earlham College and Ivy Tech Community College. They join Indiana, Purdue and the University of Notre Dame.
Also Thursday, the Big Ten canceled the remainder of its men's basketball tournament in Indianapolis and Indiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Bobby Cox announced boys basketball regional games on Saturday will be played before limited audiences, with each receiving no more than 75 admissions.
Gov. Eric Holcomb tweeted that he met with his cabinet Thursday “to discuss how to continue to provide essential public services while protecting Hoosiers and helping them stay healthy."
The loss of the Big Ten tournament and the closing to the general public of next week’s scheduled NCAA tournament games in Indianapolis will hit the city hard. The NCAA games were expected to draw some 42,000 people to the city and generate about $20 million in revenue for local businesses, including hotels and restaurants, according to the tourism group Visit Indy.
Jim Dora Jr., president of Indianapolis-based General Hotels Corp., which manages several hotels in the city, said the loss of business in the coming weeks can’t be replaced.
“My biggest concern is for my associates and for the associates in every business, restaurant, hotel in the area — the entire supply chain is basically all going to come to a stop right now,” Dora told the Indianapolis Business Journal.
The World Health Organization declared the global outbreak of the coronavirus a pandemic on Wednesday.
For most, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and a cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.
According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness get better in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
The Indianapolis Athletic Club Foundation announced Thursday it had decided to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Tent Party that was scheduled for Friday and the Shamrock Run Walk scheduled for Saturday. It also canceled the greening of the Central Canal in Indianapolis.
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