IN Focus: Gov. Holcomb discusses coronavirus crisis, state response

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – We are taking your questions about COVID-19 to state leaders at the highest level. 

Our Kayla Sullivan sat down with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box to discuss testing, funding and what Hoosiers need to know to stay safe. 

FULL INTERVIEW: Gov. Holcomb discusses coronavirus pandemic response, the ‘new normal’ for Hoosiers

“Everything is on the table,” said Gov. Holcomb when asked about what he may do in the future to help with the Coronavirus pandemic. 

He said emergencies like COVID-19 are exactly why the state keeps a hefty rainy day fund. 

“While we are not there yet, for the reserve action, it’s comforting to know that we are one of the most recession resilient states in the country. We have over two billion in reserves,” said Holcomb.

A special legislative session could be called as a result of the coronavirus. But right now, Holcomb wants your help. 

“We’re living in a new normal,” he said. 

Wash your hands, don’t touch your face or others, stay home when you feel sick, and avoid large gatherings. 

“That isolation may seem extreme, it’s not,” said Holcomb. “Not in the world in which we live in today. And like I said, this is the new normal and we have to take it seriously and if you’re not, you’re out of step with reality.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box didn’t give a specific number when asked how many tests Indiana has right now. But she says coronavirus test supplies are limited here and the rest of the United States. 

“We’re on the later side of the number of countries that have gotten sick with this it’s really disrupted supply lines and the ability to have some of the chemicals that we need for this,” said Dr. Box.

She said more tests are on the way and Indiana labs, schools, and companies are working on developing their own tests for the virus. 

“Indiana State Department of Health is trying to reserve our testing for those individuals that are the most severely ill,” said Box. 

She said most people who get this barely feel like they have a cold. It’s the elderly and those with underlying illnesses that are most at risk. That’s one reason testing schools and shutting down all schools hasn’t happened in Indiana. 

“What would be the ramification of a 100 percent school closure in terms of food delivery, in terms of transportation, in terms of e-learning, in terms of co-curricular and extra-curricular, the 75-thousand seniors right now,” explained Gov. Holcomb. “Giving them that waiver, giving them that 20-day waiver, that flexibility, giving them that call on the ground for their own circumstance, I believe was the right decision.”

Dr. Box said people should live as though they are infected to protect others. However, going to restaurants and enjoying life as usual is fine if you’re healthy. 

“You need to know what your own health issues are,” said Box. “If you are a 65-year-old person who has had a heart attack or undergoing chemotherapy, I’d stay home and make my meals, I’d be watching Netflix.”

Box says eventually, they will have drive-thru style testing available but couldn’t give an exact time frame on that. 

She urges people to continue staying informed on the state’s website.

We’ll continue following this story and bring you updates as we get them. 

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