INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Holcomb talks education funding
During the Wednesday press conference, Gov. Holcomb announced there will be no funding cuts to the state's K-12 schools as a result of the pandemic.
Gov. Holcomb said the state is moving forward with a $183 million increase in funding for K-12 education as part of the state's budget.
Most state agencies are cutting budgets by about 15 percent and higher education institutions are being cut by about 7 percent. Holcomb said K-12 schools have "spared the knife."
IUPUI, ISDH release findings from second phase of COVID-19 testing
Results from the second phase of a scientific study of statewide random testing show fewer active infections and a greater number of people testing positive for antibodies.
In its second phase, the study tested more than 3,600 Hoosiers between June 3 and June 8 for viral infections and antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, which causes the COVID-19 disease. This number includes more than 2,700 people who were randomly selected and almost 1,000 volunteers recruited through outreach to vulnerable populations in Marion, Allen and LaGrange counties.
After analyzing and comparing the results of Phase 2 and Phase 1, IUPUI researchers determined that the statewide estimate for active infection rate was 0.6 percent -- a sharp decrease from the 1.7 percent observed in Phase 1. The estimate for antibody positivity in Phase 2 was 1.5 percent -- an increase from 1.1 percent from the Phase 1 results.
"While the reasons for this decline could vary, it is likely that the virus has slowed due to our collective efforts to be safer, engage in social distancing, and reduce transmission by wearing masks and adhering to higher hand- and surface-hygiene standards," lead scientist Nir Menachemi said. "This was an example of Hoosiers successfully hunkering down during the initial outbreak."
While the ratio between active infections and antibody positivity improved in Phase 2, researchers continued to see disparities among minority communities. These groups still show evidence of being harder hit with coronavirus infections.
Gov. Holcomb announces partnership with Indiana Black Expo
Governor Eric Holcomb announced that as part of the state’s efforts to support Indiana small businesses and entrepreneurs, a new partnership has been created with Indiana Black Expo (IBE).
The partnership is aimed at increasing economic and workforce recovery programs for minority employers and encouraging small business owners to apply for funding available through state and federal programs.
“As a state, we’re committed to ensuring that our businesses and our people have access to vital economic and workforce assistance during this unprecedented time,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Launching this new partnership with Indiana Black Expo will expand the state’s capacity to provide critical COVID-19 resources to minority businesses and workers, while further positioning Indiana for long-term, sustainable economic recovery.”
Latest ISDH report on new cases
The Indiana State Department of Health is reporting 264 more cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths from the virus.
That brings Indiana's total cases to 41,013 and total deaths to 2,289.
The 264 additional positive cases date back to June 4. Wednesday's additional deaths date back to May 20.
To date, more than 370,000 Hoosiers have been tested for the virus.
As of Wednesday, the state was testing at about an 11 percent positive rate for the virus.
7-Eleven cancels free Slurpees in stores on July 11
7-Eleven, Inc. is breaking tradition this year by not celebrating July 11 with free Slurpees in stores.
The convenience store cited the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic as the reason why the in-store celebrations would not happen this year. Instead, 7-Eleven is pledging to donate 1 million meals to Feeding America.
But those who were still looking forward to the free Slurpee are still in luck. 7Rewards loyalty app members will receive a coupon for 1 free Slurpee beginning July 1, redeemable throughout the entire month.
Freebies will also be available on the 7NOW delivery app. Participants can get an entire pizza delivered for just $5, and it comes with a free Slurpee.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been 2.13 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 3:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 116,000 deaths and 583,000 people recovered.
Worldwide, there have been 8.17 million confirmed cases with more than 443,000 deaths and 3.95 million recovered.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
All Indianapolis Zoo guests able to reserve timed tickets Wednesday morning
The Indianapolis Zoo will reopen Friday, June 19, but guests must purchase timed tickets in advance.
Zoo officials said timed tickets will be available to purchase for all guests beginning mid-morning Wednesday, June 17.
Timed tickets became available for members Monday, June 15. Member tickets are free, but all guests are still required to reserve a spot ahead of time.