While you were sleeping: Coronavirus updates for April 15

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic that you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

Indiana long-term care facilities are now allowed to transfer, discharge, or relocate residents to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

Also, some facilities may get patients from hospitals who need to be rehabilitated after beating the virus and aren’t ready to go home.

The Indiana Health Care Association (IHCA) says state and federal guidelines suggest facilities split into three parts: one for positive COVID-19 residents, one for those showing symptoms and not tested, and one for confirmed negatives.

Smaller facilities can split into two sections: those who tested positive and those who tested negative.

IHCA says they realize some small facilities may not be able to do this with their resources, but they say the vast majority of long-term care facilities in the state can pull this off.

President Trump said he is cutting off U.S. payments to the World Health Organization pending a review of its warnings about the coronavirus and China.

Trump claimed the outbreak could have been contained at its source and lives could have been saved had the health agency done a better job investigating early reports out of China.

“The WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump said at a briefing. 

He said the U.S. would review the WHO’s actions to stop the virus before deciding whether to resume aid.

There was no immediate comment from the WHO on Trump’s announcement, but when asked about possible U.S. funding cuts during a briefing earlier in the day, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said, “Regardless of any issues, our work will go on.”

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus said the state needs to do more to protect black Hoosiers. According to the state’s website, Indiana’s black population is roughly 10% and the latest statistics show nearly 18% of COVID-19 Hoosier patients are African American. Out of all the coronavirus-related deaths in Indiana, 20.9% were black hoosiers.

“There are many reasons attributing to these numbers including, but not limited to, a lack of quality healthcare access, a lack of health insurance, prior chronic health conditions,” said IBLC Chair Robin Shackleford.

The caucus also listed other factors – like systematic racism, poverty, food and pharmacy desserts, lack of transportation to testing, and a greater chance of a black person being an essential worker at this time.

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus is asking to have members on this team and to have a plan in place by June 30.

General Motors announced their Kokomo plant is now producing critical care ventilators and will ship over 600 ventilators to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by the end of April.

The Ventec Life Systems V+Pro ventilators are part of a 30,000-unit order from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. GM says the full order will be completed by the end of August.

GM said the effort “involved sourcing hundreds of parts and assemblies from suppliers; the design of a new manufacturing process; the transformation of GM’s Kokomo factory; the ongoing hiring of more than 1,000 manufacturing team members; and the implementation of extensive health and safety protocols in the workplace.”

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