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Indiana coronavirus updates for Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday's latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR/AP/TEGNA) - Saturday's latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

US COVID deaths double in 2 days, topping 2,000

Confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in the United States doubled in two days, surpassing 2,000 Saturday and highlighting how quickly the virus is spreading through the country.

Johns Hopkins University reported that confirmed deaths rose to more than 30,000 around the world. The U.S. ranked sixth in deaths, after Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France. Italy alone had more than 10,000 dead.

The U.S. death toll has risen abruptly in recent days. It topped 1,000 just Thursday.

Rhode Island announced its first two deaths from the coronavirus, leaving just three states with zero reported deaths: Hawaii, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Franklin nursing home has 7 more residents test positive, bringing total to 15

13 Investigates confirms 7 more residents at Otterbein Senior Life nursing home in Franklin have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of infected residents to 15.

A nurse and contracted therapist who work at the nursing home also have confirmed cases of coronavirus.

An additional 12 residents showing coronavirus symptoms tested negative, Otterbein spokesman Gary Horning told 13 Investigates, adding that three more residents began exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms today.

Click here to read the full article from 13 Investigates' Bob Segall.

Johnson County has 52 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19

As of noon today, Johnson County has 52 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 which includes three deaths.

"It would be safe to say that the actual case numbers are much higher than the current laboratory count," the Johnson County Joint Incident Management team said on Twitter.

The cases are from all parts of Johnson County.

Chicago-area infant dies, Illinois governor says

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says an infant with COVID-19 has died and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of death.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says there hasn't been a death associated with the new coronavirus in an infant. Officials didn't release other information about the infant, who was from Cook County, which includes Chicago, including whether the child had other health issues.

Children have made up a small fraction of coronavirus cases worldwide. A letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Chinese researchers earlier this month reported the death of a 10-month-old with COVID-19. The infant had a bowel blockage and organ failure, and died four weeks after being hospitalized.

Separate research published in the journal Pediatrics traced 2,100 infected children in China and noted one death, a 14-year old. The study found less than 6% of children were seriously ill.

“Upon hearing it, I admit I was shaken, and it’s appropriate for us to grieve today,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Memphis' Beale Street Music Fest, World BBQ championship rescheduled

Tourism officials say the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest have been rescheduled for the fall after they were postponed because of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Memphis in May officials said in a statement that the barbecue cooking competition has been reset for Sept. 30 through Oct. 3. The music festival has been rescheduled for Oct. 16 through Oct. 18.

Both events are the cornerstones of the city's monthlong tourist event in May. They attract music fans and barbecue cooking teams from around the world.

The Great American River Run also had been postponed. It has been reset for Oct. 31.

Meanwhile, Elvis Presley's Graceland said it is extending its closure through April 19.

Rhode Island has first 2 deaths, State Health Department says

Rhode Island announced its first two deaths from the coronavirus on the same day that the state National Guard was expected to go door to door in coastal communities to find visitors from New York.

One person in their 80s died Friday night, the other person in their 70s died Saturday, the state Department of Health said.

There are now only three states with zero reported deaths: Hawaii, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The Guard was said to be asking people if they are visiting from New York and telling them about the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people from the state. The measure is needed to help control the spread of the new coronavirus because the New York City area is the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., Gov. Gina Raimondo said Friday.

New Orleans asks for protective equipment donations

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell's administration is asking for donations of protective equipment.

The donations can be dropped off at Salvation Army drop boxes next to New Orleans Fire Department stations. Items being accepted include masks, gloves, disposable medical gowns, goggles and face shields.

“Like many places around the world, orders of PPE equipment made back in November 2019 have yet to be filled and our supply is running low. Any additional equipment the public can donate at this time will help keep our first responders safe and out on the streets,” New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Collin Arnold said.

New Orleans is one of the nation’s hot spots for coronavirus.

Indiana cases

On Saturday morning, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 31 deaths up from 24 on Friday.

The state also saw a 25 percent jump in positive cases of COVID-19.

New deaths were reported in the following counties:

  • Fayette
  • Franklin
  • Lake
  • Marion (2)
  • Tippecanoe
  • Vigo

ISDH said Friday that it expects cases of COVID-19 to surge in mid to late April.

The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Indiana on March 6. In three weeks Indiana has reported the same number of COVID-19 deaths as were reported at the 15 week mark for this flu season.

U.S. Navy hospital ship heading to NYC for coronavirus aid

A 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship is being rushed back into service to provide medical help to New York City, now the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak.

It is scheduled to arrive Monday at a Manhattan pier a week after its sister ship, the USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles to perform similar duty on the West Coast. President Donald Trump will send off the ship Saturday as he aims to highlight the federal response to the pandemic.

The ship has 12 operating rooms as well as radiology suites and a CT scanner. It also has ICU beds, a lab and a pharmacy.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper introduced the president and said military personnel are eager to begin their mission and head to New York.

President Trump said, "we are here for you." The U.S. Navy hospital ship will be met in New York harbor by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The mission will be to care for New Yorkers who don't have the virus, but to give them a place to be treated. "People with the virus will not be on the ship," Trump said.

Trump raises idea of quarantines affecting NY, NJ and Connecticut

President Donald Trump says he has spoken with some governors and is considering some type of an enforceable quarantine to prevent people in New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut from traveling.

He tells reporters at the White House that it would be for a “short period of time, if we do it at all.” The president says he's spoken with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and New York's Andrew Cuomo. New York is the country's epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. But Cuomo says at a briefing in New York that he didn't talk about any quarantine during a conversation Saturday with Trump.

Worldwide cases

The United States has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. passed both Italy and China Thursday, and confirmed more than 100,000 cases on Friday.

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide topped 600,000 on Saturday as new cases stacked up quickly in Europe and the United States and officials dug in for a long fight against the pandemic.

The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

The latest landmark came only two days after the world passed half a million infections, according to a tally by John Hopkins University, showing that much work remains to be done to slow the spread of the virus. It showed more than 607,000 cases and over 28,000 deaths.

While the U.S. now leads the world in reported infections — with more than 104,000 cases — five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.

Doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers in its worst-hit regions are working nonstop and falling ill at an alarming rate. More than 9,000 health workers in the country have been infected.

"We are completely overwhelmed," said paramedic Pablo Rojo at Barcelona's Dos de Maig hospital. "Seven or eight (patients transported today) and all with COVID-19. ... And the average age is decreasing. They're not 80 years old anymore, they are now 30 and 40 years old."

"Sometimes you become a bit paranoid, you don't know any more when you pick up the phone if you have cleaned your hands, if you've sanitized them or not. You touch your face with your hands," Rojo said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and lead to death.

More than 130,000 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins.

The effects of the outbreak have been felt by the powerful and the poor alike.

On Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson became the first leader of a major country to test positive for the virus. He said he would continue to work from self-quarantine.

New York governor moves presidential primary from April to June

The governor of New York had delayed the state's presidential primary moving it from April to June. In a tweet Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote, "we will move our presidential primary to June 23rd. Public health is our number one priority and we will carry out this vital democratic process at a safer date."

President Trump has also been reportedly considering a two week quarantine for the state, as WNBC New York reports. In addition to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are also being considered as well as the number of COVID-19 cases in that tri-state area continue to rise.

Some political leaders are hailing a potential breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19: simple pin-prick blood tests or nasal swabs that can determine within minutes if someone has, or previously had, the virus. But some scientists have challenged their accuracy.

As WGN Chicago reports, the FDA has cleared a new rapid test made by Abbott Laboratories. The company says it can detect the coronavirus in about 5 minutes.

U.S. Navy hospital ship heading to NYC for coronavirus aid

A 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship is being rushed back into service to provide medical help to New York City, now the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak.

It is scheduled to arrive Monday at a Manhattan pier a week after its sister ship, the USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles to preform similar duty on the West Coast. President Donald Trump will send off the ship Saturday as he aims to highlight the federal response to the pandemic.

The ship has 12 operating rooms as well as radiology suites and a CT scanner. It also has ICU beds, a lab and a pharmacy.

Trump boosts virus aid, warns governors to be 'appreciative'

President Donald Trump is willing to help governors in their struggle with a virus outbreak, if they ask nicely.

He has taken a round of steps to expand the federal government's role in helping produce critically needed supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic after desperate pleas from the nation’s governors.

Yet he also rejected any criticism for the federal government's response to a ballooning public health crisis that a month ago he predicted would be over by now. Trump on Friday signed an order aimed at compelling General Motors to prioritize the production of ventilators under the Defense Production Act.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the country is at a critical stage

Japan is dealing with coronavirus infections but not at a point to declare a state of emergency.

Japan's Prime Minister says Japan has managed to keep clusters under control by carefully following infection routes. But the initial strategy is now having a difficulty, with a rise of infections that are no longer traceable -- an early sign of infection explosion.

The virus has put health systems in Italy, Spain and France under extreme strain

Lockdowns of varying severity have been introduced across Europe, nearly emptying streets in normally bustling cities, including Paris where drone photos showed the city's landmarks eerily deserted.

Merkel's chief of staff, Helge Braun, said Germany — where authorities closed nonessential shops and banned gatherings of more than two in public — won't relax its restrictions before April 20.

Spain, where stay-at-home restrictions have been in place for nearly two weeks, reported 832 more deaths Saturday, its highest daily count yet, bringing its total to 5,690. Another 8,000 confirmed infections pushed that count above 72,000.

Spain has struggled to get coronavirus tests and protective gear for health workers

The government has started flights to transport the supplies directly from China to reduce waiting times.

As the epicenter has shifted westward, the situation has calmed in China, where some restrictions have been lifted. Six subway lines restored limited service in Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December, after the city had its official coronavirus risk evaluation downgraded from high to medium on Friday. Five districts of the city of 11 million people had other travel restrictions loosened after their risk factor was downgraded to low.

FDA clears test that can quickly detect virus

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared a new rapid test from Abbott Laboratories, which the company says can detect the coronavirus in about 5 minutes.

Medical device maker Abbott announced the emergency clearance of its cartridge-based test in a release Friday night. The company says that its test delivers a negative result in 13 minutes when the virus is not detected.

The U.S. has been trying for weeks to ramp up coronavirus testing after a series of problems with the initial government-designed test. The nation’s daily testing capacity has been increasing as more diagnostic makers and large laboratories have developed tests.

Broad Ripple business adapting, supporting to survive

“Business owners are struggling to pay their bills and keep the lights on," said Colleen Fanning with the Broad Ripple Village Association. "One thing we're encouraging landlords to do is to give grace from a rent perspective, but business owners are facing really tough decisions."

A few businesses got together to see how they could help.

They came up with a plan: Raise money and then divide it up between businesses having a tough time and employees who are struggling.

“We're going to give half of the money they pledge to purchase gift cards to small businesses in the Broad Ripple area that are struggling with cash flow. The other half we are cutting checks for $150 Rona Relief Award Gifts for service employees whose hours have been drastically cut or eliminated,” Fanning explained.

An employee can be nominated by anyone, or they can nominate themselves for a one-time $150 check. The money a business receives will be used to buy a gift card to that business.

Fanning said The Broad Ripple Village Association will keep the gift card to use later for promotional purposes, to help someone who’s struggling, or they may auction it off later.

“We were able to get this program turned around in 72 hours and since Friday we've raised $13,000 and all that money is going to support small businesses and their employees,” Fanning said.

To find out more, click here.