11 dead after COVID-19 outbreak at Madison County nursing home; governor orders tighter retail rules


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and health officials made several announcements Monday regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Indiana.

Starting at midnight, retail businesses must now operate like bars and restaurants, meaning only curbside, carryout and online order/delivery can be offered. This does not apply to grocery stores and pharmacies.

Retail stores that provide essential items must limit the number of customers in the store at a time, adjust hours to accommodate vulnerable groups and limit hours for cleaning and restocking.

An outbreak at Bethany Pointe nursing home in Madison County has resulted in 11 deaths, Dr. Kristina Box announced. Three employees are hospitalized.

“These are a grandparents, parents, friends, church family, individuals that we care about and want to protect. Please help us do that,” said Box.

Box said there are enough intensive care beds and ventilators right now to handle the expected surge in patients, though staffing may be a problem. The strategic national stockpile provided enough personal protective equipment for the next 13 days if used in a very conservative manner. Donations will be needed.

The governor also ordered all state campgrounds to close, including Indiana State Park campgrounds. An exception can be made for someone whose primary residence is on a campground. State parks will remain open.

DNR says people can still go to the parks and use the trails, but can’t camp overnight.

Read the full order from the governor here.

On Friday, the governor announced the state’s stay-at-home order will continue through April 20 at 11:59 p.m. He also said Indiana’s public health emergency will continue through May 3. Monday’s executive order solidified those updates.

The day before, he said Indiana schools will remain closed and focused on remote learning through the end of the school year.

Monday morning, the Indiana State Department of Health reported a total of 139 coronavirus deaths, 4,944 total cases and 26,191 people tested. The ISDH is tracking cases daily on its website.

The governor has been holding daily briefings via video conferencing and encouraging Hoosiers to engage in social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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