Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb today announced additional steps the state will enact to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus, including limiting most gatherings to 250 people and giving school corporations a 20-day waiver of required school days.
As of noon today, the state reports 12 Indiana residents have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19, the disease stemming from the new coronavirus, but more are expected.
Holcomb issued that non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people. This includes any event or gathering of people who are in one room or a single space at the same time, such as cafeterias, churches, stadiums, meeting and conference rooms, auditoriums and the like, according to the Indiana State Dept. of Health.
This guidance applies to professional, social, community and similar gatherings. Detailed guidance will be posted on the Indiana State Department of Health website by the end of the day, according to ISDH.
Effective immediately, school corporations will be provided with a 20-day waiver of the required 180 instructional days for use as needed for the remainder of the academic year. The waived days do not need to be used consecutively and can be leveraged as needed, according to the release.
Some school systems have already announced closures, including the Avon Community School Corp., the Lebanon Community School Corp. and Zionsville Community Schools.
The Indiana Department of Correction has suspended visitation at all facilities as a precaution for the health and safety of IDOC staff and offenders, according to the release.
ISDH recommends individuals over 60 years of age or those with a known underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease to should limit their public exposure. ISDH also advises residents practice social distancing to prevent further spread of the disease.
In addition, Holcomb issued guidance for state employee operations. The state will suspend all non-essential out-of-state and international travel beginning today and for the next 45 days, according to the release. The state is also providing employees with guidance about the use of leave and remote work options for limited durations while ensuring the delivery of essential state services.
“I fully expect there will be additional actions warranted in the coming days,” Holcomb stated. “Just as we have since the beginning of the year, we are working with partners at all levels to secure all necessary resources for any escalation of this virus.
“This is a time when we must do all we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19, protect our most vulnerable populations and reduce their potential to acquire or spread this virus. While some actions are drastic, now, not later, is the time to act.”