Indiana now has 17,835 total cases of COVID-19 being reported, an increase of 669 cases since Wednesday’s total.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, there have been 1,007 deaths as of this afternoon’s update, an increase of 44 deaths from the previous day’s numbers.
Bartholomew County has 250 confirmed cases, an increase of 9 since Wednesday. There have been 12 deaths so far from the coronavirus in Bartholomew County.
In other area counties, Decatur has 200 cases and has had 28 deaths, an increase of 1 death. Jennings 75 cases and 2 deaths, Jackson 138 cases and 1 death, Brown 15 cases and 1 death, Johnson 579 cases and 62 deaths; and Shelby 201 cases and 12 deaths.
Indiana is adding another needed component to ensure that COVID-19 dies down in the state — comprehensive tracking of the contacts those who are infected made with others while they were contagious.
After announcing on Tuesday that there would be 50 COVID-19 testing locations around the state, on Wednesday, state officials announced that the state is partnering with a company called Maximus to conduct those contact tracing investigations.
Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner explains:
Box said that the state will reach out by phone and e-mail to those diagnosed with COVID-19 to set up interviews about who they may have come in contact with.
Plans call for hiring at least 500 employees, who will be trained in contact tracing and investigations by state experts. The call center is expected to be operational around May 11th.
Cummins is planning on bringing about 1,100 manufacturing employees in southern Indiana back to work on Monday as the company starts up again.
Jon Mills, company spokesman, says that manufacturing workers will be returning to work at all southern Indiana facilities on Monday except for Columbus Midrange Engine Plant.
Mills said that CMEP would be reopened when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles returns to production of the heavy-duty Ram trucks using Cummins engines. About 900 of the company’s 2,000 southern Indiana manufacturing employees work at CMEP, Mills said.
Mills said, the company’s goal is to have a safe workplace for returning workers and the company is taking steps to ensure that including providing protective gear, thorough cleanings and disinfection, rearranging workspaces and workflow to maintain social distancing, health screenings and temperature checks.
The reopening of the manufacturing plants and the return of those workers does not change the situation of the many office workers who will continue to work reduced hours, at home and with reduced pay until such time they can be safely brought back to work, Mills said.
A garage fire near Eighth and Union Streets Wednesday morning ignited a second garage fire, damaged a passenger car and melted siding on nearby structures.
Columbus firefighters were called to the 1100 block of Eighth Street at about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday morning on a report of a structure fire and found a standalone garage off of Union Street fully engulfed in flames. The fire was so hot that it ignited a garage across the alley off of Eighth Street, and damaged the siding on three neighboring homes as well as a garage. A car next to the garage also went up in flames.
Complicating efforts to fight the fire were downed power lines in the area.
Firefighters had the fire under control within about 10 minutes. The cause of the fire is under investigation and damages are estimated at $23,000, according to the fire department. No one was injured.
Indiana now has 17,182 total cases of COVID-19 being reported, an increase of 605 cases since Tuesday’s total. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, the state has had 964 deaths as of this afternoon’s update, an increase of 63 deaths from the previous day’s numbers.
The number of deaths from coronavirus in less than two months is more than the number of motor vehicle accident deaths in any of the past 10 years. And nearly 8 times as many flu deaths as of this year’s flu season.
Bartholomew County has 241 confirmed cases, an increase of 3 since yesterday. There have been 12 deaths so far from the coronavirus in Bartholomew County, an increase of 1.
In other area counties, Decatur has 199 cases and has had 27 deaths. Jennings 74 cases and 2 deaths, Jackson 128 cases and 1 death, Brown 15 cases and 1 death, Johnson 563 cases and 62 deaths, an increase of 4 deaths; and Shelby 194 cases and 12 deaths, an increase of two deaths since yesterday’s report.
A Columbus woman is being accused of trying to steal blank checks from a home on the north side of the city Tuesday afternoon.
Columbus police were called to the 2300 block of Fairfax Drive at about 3:25 Tuesday afternoon and found 30-year-old Lindsey E. Winship inside the home. While searching her clothes officers allegedly discovered marijuana and some blank checks that belonged to the homeowner.
Winship allegedly struggled with officers trying to put her in a patrol car. She is facing preliminary charges of residential entry, possession of marijuana, theft and resisting law enforcement.
The Edinburgh outlet mall is part of a plan announced by Simon Properties yesterday to reopen 10 malls across the state, and 39 others across the country.
Indiana’s stay-at-home order is set to expire on Friday. But Gov. Eric Holcomb is not yet saying if he will expand it or if the malls will be allowed to reopen. The governor addressed the issue at yesterday’s COVID-19 press briefing.
Our news-gathering partners at TTWN Inc. are reporting that the malls in Indiana that will open include Indiana Premium Outlets in Edinburgh, Castleton Square, Circle Centre Mall, College Mall, Fashion Mall at Keystone, Greenwood Park Mall, Hamilton Town Center, Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, Tippecanoe Mall, and the University Park Mall.
Vice President Mike Pence is taking criticism for not wearing a face mask while visiting the Mayo Clinic.
According to our news-gathering partners at TTWN Media Networks Inc., Pence went to the Rochester, Minnesota facility yesterday and his decision to not wear a mask or covering goes against guidelines issued by the Mayo Clinic. It said earlier this month that all patients and visitors are required to cover their face. Pence was also the only one without a mask at a roundtable.
In a tweet later deleted, Mayo posted that the Vice President had been informed about the masking policy before his arrival.
Pence is praising Mayo Clinic’s efforts to combat COVID-19.
The Vice President’s visit came after Governor Tim Walz’s announcement about a ramped up virus testing plan in partnership with Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota.
Foundation for Youth held a virtual annual meeting online Tuesday day afternoon, including annual awards.
The 2019 It Takes a Village Award went to Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County. Other awards included: Corporate Volunteer of the Year award to LHP, Volunteer of the Year to Cathy Hoehne, Friend of Camp Award to Britt Brewer, Coach of the Year to Juliana Bernabe , Employee of the Year to Brian Cain, Hollenbeck Sportsmanship Awards to Austin Baker and Sydney Baker. Camper of the Year Award to Jaedyn Greenlee. The Carlin Lucas Girl of the Year Award to Makenzie Harman and Boy of the Year to Luis Ernesto (Ernie) Burrola Ortegon and Youth of the Year Award to Keller McNear.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Tuesday that the Columbus National Guard Armory would be among the first large-scale testing sites or COVID-19, starting for Hoosiers within the next week.
There will be a total of 50 testing sites around the state with 20 opening in National Guard armories over the next seven days and 30 more sites over the next two weeks. Area sites in the first wave will include testing in Columbus, Johnson County, and Scottsburg.
The governor says testing will be available for any symptomatic Hoosier, close contacts of positive cases, or residents of congregate living settings. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box will issue a standing order for the test for any Hoosier who meets the criteria. Hoosiers will not be charged for testing and insurance is not required. If you have private health insurance, you should bring that information with you.
OptumServe Health Services will operate the sites. Registration will be required and a registration web site will be opening soon as well as a hotline phone number.
The goal is to have 4,400 Hoosiers tested a day in the first phase with 6,600 tests a day once all the sites are open.