Indiana coronavirus updates for Tuesday, March 24, 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) — Tuesday's latest update on the coronavirus pandemic.

IndyParks employee tests positive for COVID-19

Indy Parks and Recreation announced Tuesday they had learned an employee had tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee is based at Washington Park.

The agency said officials were "working closely with the Marion County Public Health Department to notify any Indy Parks employee or other individual that may have had close contact with the individual."

In a release, Indy Parks said "based on MCPHD feedback and the CDC’s guidance on close contact, there is no known risk for residents that recently visited the park. In an abundance of caution, a deep cleaning of the affected workspace will occur."

'Pop up' sites to distribute free food

INDIANAPOLIS – "Pop up" food distribution sites, intended to get produce and dairy products to those in need, have been announced at various Indianapolis locations.

It's an effort by local churches in association with food banks and public and private partnerships.

“The Indianapolis community is doing what it does best, stepping up to help neighbors who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Thank you to the volunteers and community partners for answering the call to service, helping to ensure that the basic needs of our city’s families are met during this unprecedented time.”

The program allows participants to drive up to distribution sites for fresh, free food items. The following sites are open on Wednesday (3/25) and Friday (3/27) from 1-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. and Saturday (3/28) from 1-3 p.m.:

Site #1: Hovey Street Church of Christ

2338 Hovey Street

Indianapolis, IN 46218

Site #2: Barnes United Methodist Church

900 West 30th Street

Indianapolis, IN 46208

Site #3: Friendship Missionary Baptist Church

1301 N. Goodlet Ave

Indianapolis. IN 46222

Future distribution locations will be announced as they are determined.

“As the cascading effects of COVID-19 virus come to light, Midwest Food Bank is prepared to offer any resources available to us to continue to care for Hoosiers that are at risk and need of food assistance,” said John Whitaker, executive director of Midwest Food Bank. “We count it a privilege to work with city officials and Mayor Hogsett on a collaborative effort to provide a pop-up distribution model for fresh produce to those in Marion County who are in need.”

Click here to access the city's COVID-19 resource guide or call (317) 327-4MAC between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Speedway firefighter tests positive for COVID-19

Speedway Fire Department confirmed that one of their firefighters has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We were notified this morning that one of our firefighters has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been ordered to self-quarantine at home,” stated Chief Robert Fishburn of SFD.

Four other firefighters who had contact with this individual at the station have been instructed to self-quarantine as well. All five firefighters will stay in self-quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus.

SFD officials say they have assessed the situation and stated no known exposures to any other town employees or the public. It is unclear how the firefighter became infected with the virus.

All other firefighters are being tested and are being closely monitored for any symptoms.

Trump speaks at White House Coronavirus Task Force to update public

President Trump began the briefing by saying the White House is hoping to ease up on the strict guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak by Easter.

Gov. Holcomb gives update on coronavirus in Indiana

Governor Holcomb gave an update on the state's fight against COVID-19.

It came just hours before his "stay-at-home" order goes into effect. It will last from March 25 to April 7.

Gov. Holcomb said if you look at the numbers, it will put the fear of God in you that the time to act has come.

He said right now they are focused on a two-week timeline and what steps Indiana needs to be taking.

The Indiana State Department of Health reported a slight uptick in calls from people with breathing issues and expects a "surge" is still to come.

Indiana has received supplies based on its population from the government and is hoping to also receive FEMA supplies to help with protective gear for medical workers.

They also recommended anyone out of work, even if it is a temporary layoff or they aren't sure if they qualify, should file for unemployment. You can find resource to help you by clicking here.

City launches child care program that gives discounted rate to first responders' families

Mayor Joe Hogsett and city officials have launched a child care program to help serve the families of Indianapolis first responders.

Beginning Wednesday, March 25, child care for up to 100 kids, ages 5 to 12, will be available to families of IMPD, IFD and public safety officials at a discounted rate.

“The men and women of our public safety agencies are on the front lines of our community’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, working long hours and prioritizing resident needs,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Indianapolis is committed to stepping forward and helping to provide much-needed support to these individuals and their family during this unprecedented time.”

The program will be run by the YMCA in Indianapolis and AYS. There will be multiple locations in Marion County.

Chidren at these facilities will be kept in groups of 10 or less to adhere to the CDC's social-distancing guidelines.

Public safety personnel will receive a discount code to use for 50 percent off the child care costs. Employees will need to enter their public safety ID number when filling out the application.

Trump hopes the country will be reopened by Easter

President Donald Trump is weighing how to refine nationwide social-distancing guidelines to put some workers back on the job amid the coronavirus outbreak. At a virtual town hall hosted by Fox News on Tuesday, Trump said he is hoping the country will be reopened by Easter.

"I gave it two weeks," Trump said during the virtual town hall from the Rose Garden. He argued that tens of thousands of Americans die from the seasonal flu or in automobile accidents and "We don't turn the country off."

Health experts have made clear that unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interaction, staying home from work and isolating themselves, the number of infections will overwhelm the health care system, as it has in parts of Italy, leading to many more deaths.

While the worst outbreaks are concentrated in certain parts of the country, such as New York, experts warn that the highly infectious disease is certain to spread.

Howard County announces first ​coronavirus death

The Howard County Health Department announced its first coronavirus-related death. Once ISDH confirms the death, it would make the 13th in the state.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of the Howard County resident who lost their life as a result of COVID-19," Howard County Health Officer Dr. Don Zent said. 'It is imperative the community continues to abide by the CDC guidelines in order to protect our most vulnerable residents and allow the healthcare community to maximize their efforts against this new threat."

The patient was 60 years old and had an underlying health condition, according to the Howard County Health Department. He had been hospitalized after contracting the virus.

Sheltering Wings in need of assistance

Sheltering Wings in Hendricks County is asking for help so families in need can eat dinner together as they shelter in place.

The organization cares for families in domestic abuse situations.

They're asking those of you who can to consider donating a restaurant gift card, cash or even a dinner.

They've set up a meal train on their website for your donations.

India's PM orders 21-day lockdown

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a “total lockdown” in the country of 1.3 billion people during a televised address Tuesday night, the most extensive stay-at-home order yet in the world's fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The 21-day lockdown was set to begin at midnight.

“To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes,” Modi said, adding that if the county failed to manage the next 21 days, it would be set back by 21 years.

Indian health officials have reported 469 actives cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and 10 deaths.

Restaurants urge people to join 'The Great American Takeout' campaign on Tuesday

A coalition of restaurants nationwide wants to encourage people to order out on Tuesday, March 24. They’re calling it the #GreatAmericanTakeout.

Many restaurants around the country have had to close entirely or transition to solely delivery and takeout operations, in order to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Yelp adding donate buttons for local businesses

Yelp announced Tuesday that users will soon be able to donate to local businesses from their Yelp pages.

The move is part of a partnership with GoFundMe and the two companies plan to match the first $1 million in donations.

According to Yelp, the fundraisers will begin to appear on the pages of businesses in some of the hardest hit areas starting Tuesday, and it will be rolled out to all eligible businesses nationwide over the next couple days.

ISDH confirms 5 more deaths, 106 new positive cases of coronavirus

The Indiana State Department of Health reports 106 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the state.

As of Tuesday morning, 365 people have tested positive for coronavirus.

ISDH reports five more people died, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 12. The new deaths were two people in Johnson County and three people Marion County.

971 more people were tested for coronavirus on Monday, bringing the overall total to 2,931.

IOC postpones Summer Olympics

The International Olympic Committee has officially postponed the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Games will happen no later than the summer of 2021, according to a statement.

"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community," the IOC said in a statement.

Gov. Holcomb's statewide 'stay-at-home' order begins tonight

On Monday, Gov. Eric Holcomb updated plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the state by ordering Hoosiers to stay at home.

The order goes into effect Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until Monday, April 6 at 11:59 p.m.

Click here to see what you can do under the "stay-at-home" order and which businesses are essential that may remain open.

Negotiators close on a nearly $2 trillion virus aid package

Top congressional and White House officials negotiating the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package say they expect to reach a deal Tuesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer say they spoke by phone with President Donald Trump as they met late into Monday night at the Capitol.

While the two sides have resolved many issues in the sweeping package, some disagreements remain.

Trump says he intends to reopen country in weeks, not months

President Donald Trump says he wants to reopen the country for business in weeks, not months, and he claims, without evidence, that continued closures could result in more deaths than the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump said Monday that "we have to open our country because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems." Trump acknowledged there are trade-offs but said that if closures stretch on for months, there would be “probably more death from that than anything that we're talking about with respect to the virus.”


The comments were further evidence that Trump has grown impatient with the pandemic, even before it has reached its expected peak.

USA Gymnasts join others in favor of Olympics postponement

USA Gymnastics says a majority of senior national team members have indicated in an anonymous survey that they were in favor of the Tokyo Olympics being pushed back from its scheduled July opening.

USA Gymnastics President Li Li Leung says the organization would not specify how long of a delay it is asking for but added that most respondents were pushing for a year.

USA Swimming and USA Track and Field also have called for a postponement to the games while the International Olympics Committee considers postponing the Summer Games because of the coronavirus pandemic.