INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic that you may have missed overnight.
Here’s a look:
The White House announced a new plan to ramp up coronavirus testing in the coming months. Officials say during May and June they plan on doing more testing then they have done so far. They plan on doing that by working with states’ governors so they can start to reopen.
This eight-step plan includes a new minimum standard set at testing 2.6% of a state’s population.
As of this morning, a little over 1% of Hoosiers have been tested.
The plan focuses on testing anyone showing symptoms as well as all first responders and medical personnel.
White House officials say they will make sure states have the necessary supplies and tests to meet these objectives. They also will improve the reliability of antibody testing so Americans will know if they’ve already been infected.
Officials will also conduct surveillance and testing among high-risk populations like African Americans and Native Americans
Indiana is now requiring long-term care facilities to designate staff to provide daily communication to residents and their designated representatives on total COVID-19 cases and deaths.
As of Friday, 260 residents of long-term care facilities have died of COVID-19. They make up 32% of virus deaths statewide. Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, chief medical officer of Family and Social Services, said 85 facilities are reporting at least one death.
We still do not know all of the facilities with confirmed COVID-19 related deaths or cases because the state will not publish that information.
Dr. Rusyniak said the aggregate data will be collected every Friday and then posted to the state’s website the following Monday.
If families do not feel like they are getting this communication, the state asks you email email@example.com. Dr. Rusyniak said they will look into the matter and investigate it.
Indiana colleges and universities are working to determine how to structure the fall semester. There are many factors that could decide if students will be allowed to return to campus in August.
At Marian University, leaders hope face-to-face instruction will be back for the fall semester. “We really need to be back on campus. Now, you set your sights high,” said Daniel Elsener, the president of Marian University. Elsener is hopeful that campus won’t be empty come fall as he plans to get safety measures in place.
“If things change, we know how to react to that too,” Elsener added. “So, we’ll take care of our students and we’ll be fully operational.”
Faculty at IU is watching the pandemic and more information for the fall semester is expected in the coming days.
Purdue University released preliminary plans last week. It’s considering pre-testing people before returning to campus.
The University of Indianapolis said they set up a task force to monitor the situation.
And at Indiana State University, a return to campus could include social distancing.
The National Guard is planning a pair of flyovers in Indiana this week. Brig. Gen. Dale Lyles, adjutant general for the Indiana National Guard, said the flyovers will take place in Fort Wayne on Tuesday and Indianapolis on Thursday.
These are part of pre-planned and scheduled training missions, Lyles said. They’re intended to recognize the dedication of front-line responders as they work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Indiana.
The 122nd Fighter Wing will support a flyover in Fort Wayne on Tuesday between 11:10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.
The Indianapolis flight is scheduled between 10:45 a.m. and 11:05 a.m. on Thursday. Lyles said times are approximate.
The flyovers should be visible to anyone within three miles of the flight path, Lyles said.