Indiana coronavirus updates for Monday, March 30, 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 (WTHR/TEGNA/AP) — Monday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

Guardsman dies from coronavirus complications

The Department of Defense has announced that a New Jersey Army National Guardsman has died from COVID-19 complications Saturday. The person had been hospitalized since March 21 after testing positive, the agency says.

The soldier is the first U.S. service member to die from COVID-19.

9 IFD firefighters test positive for COVID-19

Nine of the Indianapolis Fire Department's firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19.

IFD says those firefighters are in home quarantine and will not return to work until they have been medically cleared by a doctor.

IFD Battalion Chief Rita Reith says the other firefighters who may have had close contact with those who tested positive, are utilizing the Eli Lilly testing program.

"For those tested, once those results are received, IFD will take appropriate measures in consultation with public health officials," Reith said.

IFD cannot say whether or not the nine cases are connected but the firefighters are from different stations. IFD has over 1,200 firefighters at 43 stations.

Pelosi wants House ready to act on bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants the House to be ready as soon as it returns to approve a fourth bill boosting the economy and strengthening the response to the virus.

Pelosi, D-Calif., and two House committee chairmen told reporters they want the package to improve broadband and water infrastructure, bolster hospitals and state and local governments and extend direct payments to Americans. They said it should also strengthen safety requirements for first responders and medical workers and broaden workers' leave for caring for relatives.

The House left Washington on Friday after approving the $2.2 trillion economic relief bill that President Donald Trump has signed, and plans to return as soon as April 20.

White House Coronavirus Task Force update

President Trump addressed the media Monday outside at the White House where he began by touting the amount of testing the U.S. is doing. On a table next to the podium was a table put out with an Abbott Laboratories test. This is the new test that is said to provide a fast and reliable test meant to deliver results in 5 minutes.

President Trump says that over 1 million Americans have been tested for COVID-19.

The president mentioned that the U.S. Navy hospital ship "Comfort" arrived to New York harbor Monday. The ship has 1,000 rooms and will be there to help patients who do not have COVID-19 so that hospitals on land can deal with COVID-19 patients.

The CEO of My Pillow made an announcement saying his company will be using his company for manufacturing efforts to create materials needed to battle the coronavirus outbreak. As NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reported, Lindell "is a fixture at Trump rallies and brought that sentiment to this White House event."


When asked by a reporter, as the U.S. approaches the expected peak of deaths on the curve will we have enough ventilators for patients, the president said yes he thinks so.

President Trump said, "we're going to be in very good shape."

Dr. Fauci said that we should be able to use a vaccine to help with this in a year or more from now.

Pentagon orders more ventilators

The Pentagon has ordered an additional 8,000 ventilators, with delivery of the first 1,400 by early May. The $84.4 million order was placed with several suppliers under existing Defense Logistics Agency contracts.

A Pentagon spokesman, Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Andrews, identified the four suppliers as Zoll, Combat Medical, Hamilton Medical, and VyAire.

Andrews said delivery locations will be prioritized by FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services. These are in addition to the 2,000 ventilators that the Pentagon previously said it would make available to FEMA from Defense Department stockpiles.

'Staggering': New York virus death toll rises above 1,200

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of reported coronavirus deaths in New York shot up by 253 in a single day to just over 1,200.

A Navy hospital ship has arrived in New York City to help relieve the coronavirus crisis gripping New York City's hospitals. The USNS Comfort has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours of its arrival Monday morning. It's expected to bolster a besieged health care system by treating non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and others are criticizing President Donald Trump for suggesting with no clear evidence that thousands of medical masks are disappearing from New York City hospitals.

Gov. Holcomb gives COVID-19 update

Gov. Eric Holcomb provided an update on Monday on how the state is preparing for a surge in COVID-19 cases.

On average, Indiana hospitals have 1,432 ICU beds available. In the first phase of preparing for a surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitals in Indiana now have 1,940 ICU beds available. More beds could be made available by using recovery rooms, operating rooms and outpatient facilities. Currently about 40 percent of ICU beds are available in the state.

The plan also calls for having less serious patients kept at community hospitals, rehabilitation centers and other alternate care centers. Critical patients will be moved to hospitals and areas that carry supplies and resources (like ventilators) needed for those cases.

Indiana has 1,177 ventilators and is working to double that number.

Hospitals are working together to pool resources and make sure those critical items will be available where they are needed. In counties where a major hospital isn't available, the state will utilize the 24,000 EMS workers and 2,000 ambulances to move them to a facility.

The state has received its final shipment from the federal strategic stockpile. Those resources were referred to as "limited."

(Indiana State Department of Health)

There was also a call for retired physicians and other clinicians to return to work to help. More than 5,300 clinicians have answered that call.

There is a plan for trainees, soon-to-be graduates and medical students to help as well.

The surge in cases is now expected from mid-April to mid-May. Instead of a large spike, the state is hoping social distancing and the stay-at-home order will lead to a more flattened surge, but perhaps longer. According to ISDH, 86 percent of COVID-19 cases were those over the age of 60. In indiana, 66 percent of the deaths were men, while 44 percent were women.

Increased testing is expected and ISDH said it has 3,000 test kits on hand.

Columbus firefighter recovering after testing positive for COVID-19

The City of Columbus has confirmed that a Columbus Fire Department firefighter tested positive for COVID-19.

After noticing possible symptoms of COVID-19, the firefighter self-quarantined while seeking testing.

On March 24, the Columbus Fire Department was notified by the firefighter, who was off duty and away from the fire station when symptoms began.

The department learned Monday that the firefighter tested positive. The firefighter, who resided outside of Bartholomew County, has experienced mild symptoms and will return to duty after receiving medical clearance.

No additional reports of symptoms have been identified by any firefighters assigned to the station.

Work for Indiana provides map of available jobs during pandemic

With many companies out of business due to the coronavirus epidemic, plenty of Hoosiers are looking for work.

If you fall into this category, Work for Indiana has a tool that may help you.

The agency put together an interactive map of jobs that are available right now across the state.

The map shows what jobs are available in your area, gives a description for each position, and a link to apply.

You can also search for jobs using keywords.

The goal is to connect Hoosiers out of work with jobs that provide critical care for older Hoosiers or those with disabilities, and child care for essential workers.

See the map here.

MetroNet offering faster internet speeds, deals for new customers

As more people are working or learning from home, MetroNet is providing customers with faster internet speeds, more bandwith and other perks.

Customers have been eligible for Speedboost — a feature that allows customers to increase to the next level of speed — for free for 60 days since Wednesday, March 25.

New customers with students in the home will get 500 MBPS speeds for 60 days. The company is also waiving installation fees for new residential customers, along with unlimited internet service with no data caps.

If existing customers refer someone they know to MetroNet, they'll get a $100 referral fee toward their accounts.

Tide Cleaners providing free laundry services to Indy first responders

Tide Cleaners locations in the Indianapolis area will be providing free laundry and dry cleaning services to first responders at all Tide Cleaners locations in the Indianapolis area starting Monday until April 30.

First responders eligible for free services include paramedics, doctors, nurses, hospital and medical staff, medical researchers, police officers and firefighters.

Immediate family of first responders will be included in the free services. This includes next of kin or individuals that share the same household address.

Free laundry services are available for up to four bags per household per week until April 30, 2020.

Visit Hope.TideCleaners.com to find out more about the service and find the nearest Tide Cleaners.

ISDH updates demographics of COVID-19 patients

Monday, 52.1 percent of the positive cases were Female. Here's a full breakdown of the age groups making up positive cases:

  • 0-19: 1.8 percent
  • 20-29: 11.7 percent
  • 30-39: 14.4 percent
  • 40-49: 15.7 percent
  • 50-59: 18 percent
  • 60-69: 18.2 percent
  • 70-79: 12.4 percent
  • 80+: 7.7 percent

Of the reported deaths, 65.6 percent were men. Here's a full breakdown of the age groups making COVID-19 deaths:

  • 0-19: 0 percent
  • 20-29: 0 percent
  • 30-39: 2.9 percent
  • 40-49: 0 percent
  • 50-59: 11.4 percent
  • 60-69: 17.1 percent
  • 70-79: 28.6 percent
  • 80+: 40 percent

Carnival Cruise Line extends suspension of cruises through May 11

Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will extend its pause in operation through May 11. Cruises were originally suspended through April 9.

President Trump had announced earlier this month that Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC had all agreed to temporarily suspend service.


ESPN re-airing classic Monday Night Football games

It starts Monday night with the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams 54-51 track meet that was the highest-scoring game in Monday Night Football History.

Next Monday, April 6, ESPN will re-air the 2006 game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. It marked the re-opening of the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina.

April 13 will be Brett Favre's first game against his old team, the Green Bay Packers, in 2009.

April 20 will feature the Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots from 2005 — the first time Peyton Manning won in Foxborough against Tom Brady.

It wraps up in April 27 with an improbable come-from-behind win by Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys against the Buffalo Bills in 2007.

Each game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Indiana updates state COVID-19 numbers; 35 deaths

Indiana is now reporting 1,786 COVID-19 positive cases, according to the Indiana State Department of Health on Monday morning.

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 have climbed to 35 statewide — up from 32 reported Sunday,

The website also lists total tests with results returned, which now numbers 11,658.

The list of counties with cases is included in the ISDH COVID-19 dashboard at https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/, which will be updated daily at 10 a.m. Cases are listed by county of residence.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will self-quarantine

Israel announced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will enter self-quarantine after an aide tested positive for the virus.

His office said he has undergone a test and will remain in quarantine until he receives results or is cleared by the Health Ministry and his personal doctor. His close advisors are also isolating.

More than 4,300 Israelis have been infected with the new virus and 15 have died.

Postponed Tokyo Olympics rescheduled

The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games.

Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year.

This year's games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9. But the near exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on Aug. 8.

FDA authorizes emergency use of anti-malarial drugs

The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorizations (EUA) for two anti-malarial drugs on coronavirus patients which President Donald Trump has touted as potential game-changers. The drugs have yet to be approved by the FDA as treatments for COVID-19 and are undergoing clinical trials.

The EUA allows hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to be given to hospitalized teen and adult patients if a clinical trial is not available to them, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Patients will be given the option whether to take the drugs.

HHS said it has accepted 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate from Sandoz and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate from Bayer to add to the Strategic National Stockpile.

US reports more than 142,000 cases, nearly 2,500 deaths

There are 142,356 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of midnight ET Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 2,500 people in the U.S. have died and 4,700 have recovered.

Worldwide, 722,289 have been infected with nearly 34,000 deaths and nearly 152,000 recovered.

Alan Merrill, co-writer of 'I Love Rock and Roll,' dies

Alan Merrill — who co-wrote the song “I Love Rock and Roll" that became a signature hit for fellow rocker Joan Jett — died Sunday in New York of complications from the coronavirus, according to his daughter. He was 69 years old.

Merrill wrote the song for his band The Arrows and recorded it in 1975, but it became the signature hit for Joan Jett in 1982.

Japan coronavirus cases spike after Olympics postponement

Before the Olympics were postponed, Japan looked like it had coronavirus infections contained, even as they spread in neighboring countries. Now that the games have been pushed to next year, Tokyo’s cases are spiking, and the city's governor is requesting that people stay home, even hinting at a possible lockdown.

The sudden rise in the number of virus cases in Tokyo and the government's strong actions immediately after the Olympic postponement have raised questions in parliament and among citizens about whether Japan understated the extent of the outbreak and delayed enforcement of social distancing measures while clinging to hopes that the games would start on July 24 as scheduled.

Japan and the International Olympic Committee announced on March 24 that the Games would be postponed. In the five-day span between March 24-28, there have been 673 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan, according to Johns Hopkins University. That's one more than the number of confirmed cases reported between March 9-23 — a span that was three times as long.

That number is also more than one-third of the total cases in Japan.​

Nearly 1,300 US counties — 13 in Indiana — have no cases

As the coronavirus rages through Europe and major American cities like New York and Los Angeles, more than one-third of counties across the U.S. still have not reported a positive test result for infection across what are predominantly rural areas.

A data analysis by The Associated Press shows that 1,297 counties have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of 3,142 counties nationwide. Counties with zero positive tests for COVID-19 tend to have older, rural populations with lower incomes where rural health networks might be overwhelmed.

The demographics hold major implications as the Trump administration develops guidelines to rate counties by risk of virus spread, empowering local officials to revise social distancing orders.

In Indiana, only 13 of the 92 counties remain without a single positive test for COVID-19:

  • Benton
  • Blackford
  • Cass
  • Daviess
  • Jay
  • Jefferson
  • Martin
  • Parke
  • Perry
  • Pike
  • Pulaski
  • Spencer
  • Union