While you were sleeping: Coronavirus updates for April 8

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

Here’s a look:

There are new coronavirus testing sites in three Indiana counties. A new drive-thru testing facility opened at Merrillville High School in Lake County.

Lake County has the second-most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state behind Marion County. Officials say they are working to test healthcare workers, long-term stay employees, first responders, and symptomatic essential employees.

The health department is also opening drive-thru testing facilities in Clark and Vanderburgh Counties in southern Indiana.

Hoosier business owners could now face jail time for COVID-19 violations. Companies who violate state and local orders will get a verbal warning first, a cease and desist letter second, a removal of their license or permit, and then finally, criminal charges.

It would be a Class B Misdemeanor, which could result in up to 180 days behind bars.

Democratic State Representative Ryan Dvorak said he thinks there are more violators than people know. He wants a better way for Hoosiers to report businesses who are putting employees at risk. He still thinks that should be a hotline.

“I just want to make sure that we have a system in place so that anybody can call up at any time and get their problem addressed because they are popping up all over the place,” said Rep. Dvorak.

But overall, Dvorak said he’s happier with the governor’s recent steps to create this response team. The first order didn’t allow for these extra enforcement measures.

Not only is Indianapolis leading similarly-sized and situated regional cities like Louisville, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio in per capita coronavirus cases, but it is also leading Chicago.

According to data released Monday, Indianapolis’ per capita infection rate was 203 per 100,000.

By comparison, Columbus, Ohio, with a larger population, had a per capita rate of 49, while Cincinnati and Louisville, almost as large as Indy, had per capita rates of 48.

Chicago, with more than five million residents, had more positive cases, but 156 positive test results per 100,000 residents.

And the answer is not because Indiana and Indianapolis have done more testing and therefore found more positive results.

Earlier this week, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box reported that Indiana has been doing 336 coronavirus tests per 100,000 people.

By comparison, Ohio and Kentucky report nearly 400 tests per capita, with Illinois and Michigan inching toward 500 and the United States as a whole surpassing that mark.

Retired and inactive EMS professionals can join the fight against the coronavirus without reinstatement or approval by the Indiana EMS Commission under Gov. Holcomb’s new executive order.

The retired or inactive professionals, however, would have to work under the supervision of a licensed EMS or healthcare professional.

The professionals are also allowed to provide primary patient care for patients as part of emergency response, transports and facilities with a temporary certification or licensure from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

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