While you were sleeping: Coronavirus updates for July 28

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

Here’s a look:

NFL teams are getting back to work today. The full Colts roster will report to training camp today with the veterans joining the rookies. But getting back to the game will look a bit different because of the coronavirus pandemic.

First, the league says there will be no pre-season games.

Also, there will be a lot of safety precautions in place for everyone. Players and coaches will be tested daily for the coronavirus for at least the first two weeks.

Eventually, everyone will move to every other day testing schedule once the team gets to a 5% positivity rate and maintains it.

Everyone will be required to wear masks and maintain a safe distance apart no matter where they are in the facility—even when eating and on the field.

According to the NFLPA, about 70% of players could be considered vulnerable or at an increased risk for the virus.

“We still do not know a lot of the basics about this disease and where it’s going to be headed. And I think it harkens back again to those conversations that each individual has to have and they have to, in their mind, make what’s the best decision for themselves,” NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills said.

Two players won’t be joining the Colts after they were placed on the NFL’s reserve/ COVID-19 list. Those players are cornerback Jackson Porter and wide receiver Malik Henry. There are a total of 20 players on the NFL’s reserve/ COVID-19 list.

It isn’t specified if a player on that list has the coronavirus or just came in contact with someone who tested positive.

The league says a player has to stay on that list for at least three weeks, and they need medical clearance to go back to work.

Colts officials say the first week of training camp will be light work—mainly testing for the virus, virtual meetings, and physicals. Then week two, they go into strength and conditions.

They won’t actually practice until day 16.

Some good news this morning for struggling Americans—another stimulus check could soon be heading your way.

Last night, Senate Republicans unveiled a new $1 trillion coronavirus relief plan known as the HEALS Act.

HEALS stands for health, economic assistance, liability protection, and schools.

The bill includes $105 billion for schools trying to reopen, it provides another direct payment to individuals and families, it provides funds more COVID-19 testing, and it puts more money into the Paycheck Protection Program.

The plan also has tax incentives to encourage rehiring and liability protections related to reopening.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the goal is to help Americans who need it the most.

“We have produced a tailored and targeted draft that will cut right to the heart of three distinct crises facing our country: getting kids back in school, getting workers back to work, and winning the healthcare fight against the virus,” McConnell said.

But this morning Democrats remain unified behind their offer: a $3 trillion proposal that passed the House back in May.

They say this new plan falls short of the addressing the nation’s economic needs and question why it took so long in the first place.

“Last week was a slow-motion train wreck on the Republican side. It could not have come at a worse time, and it will cause immense and possible irreparable damage to our country,” Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer said.

So what does this mean for you?

Details are still emerging, but we know the next direct payment will max out at $1,200 per person.

Second, it will include child dependents who were skipped the first time around.

Individuals will receive $500 for each dependent, and this time, there is no age cap on the extra payment.

This stimulus package now will go to the House for debate, and negotiations will have to be pretty quick. Congress has until August 7 to pass another stimulus bill before a month-long recess.

Hospitals are helping Hoosiers get on the path to recovery from the coronavirus, but they’re struggling to recover themselves. Indiana hospitals say they’ll face closure if the federal government doesn’t provide a loan extension this week.

Starting August 1, hospitals are expected to repay Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs, also known as MAAPP.  These loans were given when the pandemic started and hospitals were cancelling elective surgeries.

However, the Indiana Hospital Association says they are far from financially recovering from the pandemic.

Hospitals need more time and would also like forgiveness of the loan.

If they don’t pay it back, hospitals won’t get Medicare reimbursement.  That is especially harmful to rural hospitals.

Indiana U.S. Senator Todd Young’s spokesperson said he is optimistic an extension will be included in the coronavirus relief legislation that’s expected to be released this week.

On Monday, education advocates called on the state to release more guidance for schools.

Four public education advocacy groups — Indiana Coalition for Public Education-Monroe County, Indiana Coalition for Public Education, Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education, and the Washington Township Parent Council Network — released a statement specifically asking for metrics to be laid out so schools can determine when it’s safe for kids to be in the classroom.

They also want the state to identify a procedure for students who test positive and for standardized testing to take a backseat this year.

According to the Department of Education, schools are encouraged to follow the most recent and restrictive recommendations from the CDC. We reached out to the governor’s office for comment on more specific guidance, and we’ll let you know as soon as we hear back.

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