Indiana coronavirus updates for Monday, March 16, 2020

This illustration in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (CDC via AP)
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INDIANAPOLIS (TEGNA/AP/WTHR) — Monday's latest update on the coronavirus pandemic.

LA Fitness closes all locations due to outbreak

LA Fitness announced Monday that all of their clubs will be closing until at least April 1, 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement posted on the website, the company said they would spend the downtime cleaning and maintaining each club. Memberships will also be extended to cover the closure.

'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune' suspending production

"Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" have temporarily suspended production, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Originally the game shows announced plans to keep filming new episodes, just without audiences.

On Monday, the "Jeopardy!" Twitter account said they're going to pause filming new episodes for now.


NASCAR has postponed five more races

NASCAR says it will delay five more weekends of races as it tries to do its part to help combat the coronavirus outbreak. NBC sports reports that the hope is races will return to Martinsville Speedway May 8-9.

NASCAR said Monday, "in accordance with recent CDC guidance, NASCAR is currently postponing all race events through May 3rd, with plans to return racing in Martinsville. We appreciate the patience of our fans and we look forward to returning to the racetrack. We intend to hold all 36 races this season."

Fishers mayor restricts travel

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness issued an executive order Monday, prohibiting travel in the city, with a few exceptions.

Only travel related to medical care, travel to care for another for whom you're a primary caregiver, work activities, travel for food, medicine or essential goods is permitted. The order also will not prohibit restaurant delivery drivers or those driving to restock stores, pharmacies or food pantries.

IU Health using virtual care

Indiana University Health is rescheduling elective, non-urgent surgeries. Health screenings and elective imaging will also be rescheduled.

Here are some of the other changes for patients involving virtual care:

  • Primary care and specialty follow-up visits will be done virtually or rescheduled.
  • Primary care and specialty follow-up visits will be conducted virtually or rescheduled.
  • Well-child visits for children 2-years and older will be conducted virtually or rescheduled.
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy visits will be conducted virtually or rescheduled.

Regal closing all theaters

Regal announced Monday it will be closing all its theater locations starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020 as a precaution amid the coronavirus outbreak.

All theaters will remain closed until further notice, according to a release from Regal.

"Any time, at any Regal, it's our goal to provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees and guests," stated Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld CEO. "At this time, we have made the difficult decision to close our theatres. We value our movie-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving them again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters. The Cineworld Group and Regal Theatres are strong, standing on solid ground and our continued goal is to be The Best Place to Watch a Movie!"

Carmel Center for Performing Arts

The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel is extending its suspension of performances through May 11.

All ticketholders will be contacted and can either opt for a refund or donate the costs to the presenting organization.

The center is also working to reschedule events.

Brown County Music Center new schedule

The Brown County Music Center located in Nashville has released its new schedule for the March show postponements:

  • WARRANT – New show date: Friday, June 5, 2020 (originally scheduled for March 14)
  • The Price Is Right Live – New show date: Thursday, July 23, 2020 (originally scheduled for March 22)
  • Kenny G – New show date: Thursday, October 1, 2020 (originally scheduled for March 28)
  • Carrot Top – New show date: Wednesday, December 9, 2020 (originally scheduled for March 19)
  • Gordon Lightfoot – New show date TBA (originally scheduled for March 26, 2020)
  • Melissa Etheridge – New show date TBA (originally scheduled for March 27, 2020)

Rose-Hulman and Purdue to stay online

Rose-Hulman said returning to class on April 19 is no longer likely given the COVID-19 developments.

Instead, remote instruction will continue through the remainder of the spring academic quarter.

Purdue University announced a similar move Monday. It will be moving to remote learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, including the final exam period.

Amazon looks to hire 100,000 to keep up with orders

Amazon said Monday that it needs to hire 100,000 people across the U.S. to keep up with a crush of orders as the coronavirus spreads and keeps more people at home, shopping online.

The online retailer will also temporarily raise pay by $2 an hour through the end of April for hourly employees, who work at its warehouses, delivery centers and Whole Foods grocery stores.

Dave Clark, Amazon's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations, said the commitment to increased pay through April is an investment of more than $350 million.

Those interested in applying can learn more about the openings at www.amazon.com/jobsnow.

Stock market losses accelerate, Dow closes down almost 3,000

The stock market's losses accelerated past 10 percent Monday. The Dow ended down about 3,000 points.

The losses came as huge swaths of the economy come closer to a standstill due to the coronavirus outbreak as businesses and travel shut down.

Losses were widespread in markets around the world despite emergency actions taken by the Federal Reserve late Sunday to prop up the economy and get financial markets running smoothly again.

Red Cross pleads for blood donations

The American Red Cross is urging anyone who is healthy to donate blood.

Through March 13, about 1,500 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in some 46,000 fewer blood donations, according to the Red Cross.


The Red Cross is taking precautions and putting strict procedures in place to make sure that it is safe for people to donate.

There is no evidence and there are no reported cases of the coronavirus – or any respiratory virus - being transmitted by a blood transfusion.

Marian University moves to online for rest of semester

Marian University announced that it will be finish the rest of the spring semester online.

In addition to all coursework being taught online for the remainder of the semester, all intercollegiate athletics are canceled, and students are encouraged to return to their permanent residences.

Marian says there will be no further practices conducted for any Marian University athletics program this semester.

White House Coronavirus Task Force update

On Monday, the White House Coronavirus Task Force said families should do what they can to protect those over the age of 60 from exposure to COVID-19.

The task force stressed the importance of social isolation and appealed to all Americans to take proper steps.

President Donald Trump said that as a new guideline, people should not gather in groups of more than 10 people.

"We look forward to the day where we can get back to normal," President Trump said. He also acknowledged the country could be heading into a recession.

The task force said one million tests are now distributed nationwide. Two million are expected next week and five million the week after.

The test right now requires a medical worker to get in full protective gear, swab the patient and then get into completely new protectivel gear before swapping the next patient.

In terms of a vaccine, the task force said that while the first injection happened Monday, it could be a year before a vaccine is approved.

Indiana sees first death

Gov. Holcomb has announced the state's first death due to COVID-19.

The patient was older than 60 and had a pre-existing health issue.

Dr. Ram Yeleti, Community Health Network's chief physician, emphasized the importance of minimizing exposure, saying there will not be enough doctors to take care of all the people in need if this continues.

Canada closes border to non-citizens

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is closing his country's borders to anyone not a citizen or a permanent resident amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Trudeau announced the move Monday outside his residence, where is self isolating after his wife tested positive for the new coronavirus.


The announcement comes after Canada announced it would shut down Parliament and advised against all nonessential travel outside the country last week. The Canadian government also recommended the cancellation of all large events like concerts.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announces new restrictions

By 8 a.m. Tuesday, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett ordered all fitness facilities, bars that don't sell food, and movie theaters to close.

Grocery stores and cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities will remain open.

Hogsett said these guidelines will remain in place through at least the next seven days. According to a press release, he hopes to get approval at Monday night's City-County Council meeting to extend the order through at least April 5.

Holy Week will go on without the public

The Vatican has announced that all Holy Week events will go on as planned but without the public in attendance.

"... until April 12 the General Audiences and the Angelus presided over by the Holy Father will be available only in live streaming on the official Vatican News website."

NFL draft to be closed to public

The NFL has announced that the 2020 draft will proceed as scheduled, but without a public audience. The event is scheduled to take place April 23-25 in Las Vegas. The selection process will be televised.

ACT reschedules April test date

The ACT college entrance exam is postponing its April testing until June.

"The safety of students and test center staff is ACT’s top priority. ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S. in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19)" the organization said in a statement.

All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from the ACT with information on how to reschedule to June 13 for free. Students will also have the option to reschedule for a different national test date.

Governor Holcomb puts more restrictions in place

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has announced new guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Some of the new measures include canceling events and gatherings of more than 50 or more people, discussing options for the 16 school districts that remain open, and closing bars, clubs and restaurants to in-person customers.

Supreme Court postpones arguments

The Supreme Court has announced it will postpone oral arguments scheduled for the March session due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. The arguments include those over subpoenas for President Donald Trump’s financial records.

According to a statement on the Supreme Court's website, the Court has been closed due to public health emergencies before. Arguments were postponed in October 1918 during the Spanish flu epidemic and in August 1793 and 1798 during yellow fever outbreaks.

Six of the nine justices are 65 and older — at higher risk of getting very sick from the illness — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, and Stephen Breyer, 81, are the oldest members of the court.

Fortville Police department limiting exposure

The Fortville Police Department is taking steps to limit exposure of COVID-19 to officers and their families. Officers may not respond to nonemergency calls in person.

Chief William Knauer said he is directing officers to respond to nonemergency calls by phone to determine if officers actually need to go out. Anyone who needs to file a report will get a phone call from an officer.

Officers will still be patrolling during this time, but Chief Knauer is asking the public not to come into the police department without first contacting dispatch at 317-477-4400 and leaving a call back number.

Elton John concert rescheduled

After Live Nation announced it was postponing all tours due to the coronavirus pandemic, a representative has confirmed Elton John's concert will be rescheduled for 2021.

The concert was initially set for March 26 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Elton John's tour stops between march 26 and May 2 have been postponed. A specific reschedule date has not yet been announced.

Stocks plunge and trading halted

US stocks plunged Monday morning, halting trading for 15 minutes for the third time in two weeks.

The S&P 500 index declined by more than 7 percent, triggering a Level 1 Market Wide Circuit Breaker. The Dow opened at 2,250 points lower, or 9.7 percent. The Nasdaq composite fell 6.1 percent.

Earlier Monday, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 fell 5 percent, triggering a halt in trading, despite the Federal Reserve's decision to slash interest rates to zero Sunday. It's a sign that Friday's nearly 2,000-point gain may be short lived.

New positive cases in Indiana

The Indiana State Department of Health has announced five more positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 24. There were new cases reported in Bartholomew, Floyd, Hendricks, Howard and Marion counties.

There still have been no deaths in Indiana due to the virus. ISDH reports there have been 139 tests conducted in the state.

Marion County continues to have the most cases, with seven, followed by Hendricks and Johnson counties with three each.

See the lastest reports from ISDH here.

Clinical trial for vaccine begins

A clinical trial evaluating a vaccine designed to protect against the new coronavirus will begin Monday. A government official says the first participant in the trial will receive the experimental vaccine.

The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial that is taking place at a Kaiser Permanente research facility in Seattle. Testing will begin with 45 young, healthy volunteers with different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc.

Public health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.

Community Health Network postpones surgeries

Community Health Network has announced it will postpone elective procedures at hospitals and surgery/endoscopy centers in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The decision will apply to all procedures unless the physician, in consultation with the medical director, determines the patient would be put under a life-altering risk in the next 30 days.

Emergency cases will not be affected.

IOC official says no deadline for decision on Olympics

The leader of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics says there is no May deadline to cancel the games and he remains confident the event will go ahead despite sports coming to a virtual standstill globally amid the coronavirus outbreak.

John Coates, who will have to go into government-mandated self-isolation when he returns to Australia this week from Olympic business in Europe, told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper: “It’s all proceeding to start on the 24th of July.”

Former IOC vice president Dick Pound said in an interview with The Associated Press last month that the end of May loomed as a possible deadline for the IOC to make a call on the Tokyo Olympics.

But Coates, an IOC vice president and head of the Australian Olympic Committee, told the Sydney paper in a telephone interview from Switzerland that the IOC didn’t recognize the deadline and he thought Pound had backed away from it, too.

Chick-fil-A closes dining rooms

Chick-fil-A released a statement on its website announcing the temporary closure of its dining rooms.

"We are temporarily closing our dining room seating to help limit person-to-person contact," the restaurant said. Some locations will only offer drive-thru service while others will still offer takeout, delivery and mobile orders.

Locations in Plainfield, Broad Ripple and on East 82nd Street in Indianapolis all announced on Facebook they would service drive-thru and mobile orders.

To find the Chick-fil-A location nearest you, go to chick-fil-a.com.

IMS releases statement regarding Indy 500

Plenty of speculation surrounded "the greatest spectacle in racing" after INDYCAR canceled all events through April due to the coronavirus.

Representatives at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have released a statement on the upcoming status of the Indianapolis 500:

“We are aware of the CDC’s interim guidance suggesting the postponement of events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks. Our priority is to do our part in protecting the public health while still conducting the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge as scheduled on May 24. This continues to be a dynamic situation which we are monitoring constantly in coordination with federal, state, local and public health officials. We are planning for all contingencies and will be prepared to run the GMR Grand Prix and Indy 500 as the COVID-19 situation permits.”

School closings and delays

Click here to see a list of schools and businesses closed due to coronavirus concerns.

Bars, restaurants closing to increase social distancing

Lawmakers and organizations across the U.S. are taking steps to curtail large gatherings as much as possible to encourage and perhaps even force social distancing in an effort to curtail the spread of the new coronavirus.

Even the nation's top infectious disease official said Sunday he would like to see a 14-day national shutdown imposed, but it does not appear President Donald Trump would order that.

The CDC is recommending that gatherings of 50 people or more in U.S. be canceled or postponed over the next eight weeks because of the pandemic.

Officials and businesses on Sunday took forceful measures to halt the virus's spread. Theme parks closed, Florida beaches shooed away spring breakers and governors called for shutting down bars and restaurants in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio and Washington temporarily or only allowing take-out or delivery options.

Pre-market trading halted; China economy hit worse than thought

Trading in the Wall Street futures markets was halted after both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 fell 5 percent. It happened despite the Federal Reserve cutting rates to zero. The Dow is coming off a record 1,985-point gain on Friday.

China, meanwhile, announced that consumer spending and other business activity fell even more than expected in January and February due to its virus outbreak. Retail sales fell 20.5 percent from a year ago after shopping malls and other businesses were closed in late January. Factory output declined by a record 13.5 percent after the Lunar New Year holiday was extended to keep manufacturers and offices closed.

Starbucks going "to go" for US, Canada stores

Starbucks announced Sunday that customers in the U.S. and Canada can only get their orders "to go" for at least two weeks to increase social distancing. Customers can order at the counter, drive-thru, or through the Starbucks app. But they cannot dine-in.


Starbucks locations in places where there is a high amount of social gathering such as malls and university campuses will temporarily close.

Australian TV editor suspects Rita Wilson gave him virus

An Australian television network entertainment editor has tested positive for the new coronavirus after meeting Tom Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson, in Sydney. Hanks and Wilson have been isolated in an Australian hospital since they were both diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 12.

Nine Network entertainment editor Richard Wilkins said Monday that he was tested because he met Wilson at the Sydney Opera House on March 7 and again at Nine’s Sydney studio on March 9.