Holcomb orders residents to stay home due to virus

Jannaya Andrews

    Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb on Monday ordered residents to remain in their homes except for essential errands in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, mirroring similar orders in adjacent Illinois and Ohio. The order is in effect from March 25 to April 7.
     Holcomb said the order still allows the state's 6.8 million residents to seek essentials including groceries and medicine and makes exemptions for employees of crucial industries.
    “The next two weeks are critical if we are to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we must slow the spread. You must be part of the solution, not the problem,” Holcomb said.
    The first positive case of COVID-19 in Indiana was reported March 6. Since then the number of positive cases has increased on a near daily basis, escalating as the capacity to test has grown. As of Monday, the number of tests completed in Indiana is 1,960, the number of positive cases is 259 and 7 deaths have been reported.
    “I’m setting the example by sending state government personnel home to work to the maximum extent possible and closing our facilities to public interaction beginning Tuesday, for at least the next two weeks,” Holcomb said.
    Beginning Tuesday, all state government offices will be closed to in-person public activity until at least April 7. This includes the Government Center complex in Indianapolis and other offices throughout the state, including Bureau of Motor Vehicle branches. State employees will work remotely whenever possible and continue to provide core functions online and by phone. All public safety functions will continue.
    Holcomb said law enforcement will be instructed to not issue citations for driver’s licenses or vehicle registrations that expire during this period.
    For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
    The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, thosse with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe symptoms can take three to six weeks to get better.
    The governors of adjacent Illinois, Ohio and Michigan, as well other states, have ordered residents to remain in their homes, except to perform essential tasks, to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
    On Friday, Holcomb delayed Indiana's May 5 primary election until June 2, but said he would need to see more signs the virus was spreading statewide before taking action to order residents to stay home.
    There were 181 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the Indiana over the weekend.
    The governor has ordered all schools to remain closed until at least May 1, banned public gatherings of more than 50 people (although federal officials have lowered that number to 10), and closed restaurants for all but pickup and carry-out business.