Coronavirus: 'Stay-At-Home' Extended, Indiana Supreme Court Shields Some Stimulus Money

Apr 21, 2020

 

A hair salon in Nappanee displays a closure sign without a clear reopening date. The state's "Stay-At-Home" order has been extended to May 1.
Credit Justin Hicks / IPB News

The Indiana State Department of Health reported seven additional deaths Monday, bringing the state’s total to 569. State Health Commissioner Kris Box says deaths reported to the state are often lower over weekends. The state announced more than 11,500 total confirmed cases, with almost 65,000 Hoosiers tested.

Indiana May Soon Allow Elective Surgeries Again

The latest extension of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s “Stay-At-Home” order may allow health care facilities to begin doing elective surgeries.

Holcomb announced the details Monday of his new COVID-19 executive order.

READ MORE: Can I Go For A Walk? Here's What The Updated 'Stay-At-Home' Order Really Does

Health care providers were ordered at the start of the month to cancel or postpone non-urgent procedures, in order to conserve supplies. But Holcomb says as numbers have improved, the state will now spend the next week evaluating whether it’s safe to allow those surgeries once more.

“We’re going to let the cases and the numbers and the hospital admittance numbers drive our decision,” Holcomb says.

Indiana Supreme Court Shields Some Stimulus Money From Creditors

The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order Monday to shield, at least in part, federal COVID-19 stimulus checks from creditors.

The order halts state courts from issuing any new orders that seize or garnish the stimulus checks, except in child support cases.

That doesn’t apply to past court orders, from before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Indiana.

What Happens When Utility Shut-Offs Resume? Let's Discuss It, Consumer Advocates Say

Many Hoosiers are facing unemployment due to the COVID-19 crisis. Because of that, the state says utilities aren’t allowed to disconnect water, sewer, or electricity to their customers until the emergency order has lifted.

Uncertainty over when that might happen is worrying both utilities and consumer advocates. 

READ MORE: Can I Go For A Walk? Here's What The Updated 'Stay-At-Home' Order Really Does

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LEE MAS: ¿Puedo Salir A Caminar? Esto Es Lo Que Significa Una Orden De Permanecer En Casa

Kerwin Olson is the executive director of the consumer advocacy group the Citizens Action Coalition. He says when the emergency order lifts, it’s likely many Indiana residents will still be unemployed and unable to pay.

“Our fear is mass disconnections by utilities because of these enormous balances," Olson says.

Many utilities say they’re facing financial hardship too — not only due to unpaid bills, but also because closed businesses and schools aren’t using services.

Indiana COVID-19 Hospitalization Data Becomes Available Through Information Exchange

At Holcomb’s press briefing last Friday it was announced that hospitalization information by county was now available. 

The 50-year-old Regenstrief Institute is the research group that built an online dashboard that shows the rate of hospitalization in each of Indiana’s 92 counties. This was possible with the help of the Indiana Health Information Exchange which gathers data from the state and the different health care systems. 

Free Face Mask Giveaway In Mishawaka Draws Hundreds

Hundreds of cars snaked around the University Park Mall in Mishawaka Monday morning to receive free face masks. 

The line of cars stretched out into the road, all waiting to receive a coveted face mask for protection against COVID-19.

A few volunteers kept the line moving, passing masks to people through car windows.

Big Panda Buffet supplied the face masks. They also gave some away a few weeks ago.

Jackie Lin is the owner of the restaurant. It’s currently closed due to the coronavirus crisis but Lin says he’s found another way to stay busy.

“I see right now it’s very difficult to get a mask," he says. "I’m just doing my part today.”

Indianapolis Public Schools To Broadcast Student Lessons On TV Starting April 27

Lessons for Indianapolis Public Schools students in grades K-8 will be televised in partnership with MyINDY-TV 23 as part of a strategy to teach children at home during the pandemic.

Circle City Broadcasting, owner of MyINDY-TV 23 and WISH-TV, will start to air the lessons five days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., beginning April 27. The lessons will cover core subjects, such as English, math, and reading. Social emotional learning, like self-awareness and coping skills, will also be part of the programming.

The lessons are intended to reach more than 24,000 students in kindergarten through grade 8.

19 Loans Approved For Local Businesses From Bloomington's Rapid Recovery Fund

The City of Bloomington still has nearly $1.9 million in its Rapid Recovery Fund – a relief fund set up for local businesses. 

Alex Crowley is the director of the Economic and Sustainable Development Department for the city of Bloomington. He headed the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Working Group, which set up the loan program. 

He says as of this week, the city has approved 19 requests for loans, totaling $460,000. 

There are 21 applications pending review and 121 applications still in progress. 

This means roughly $1.89 million is still available in the fund.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.