INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WXIN)– Gov. Eric Holcomb and other state officials discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Hoosier State during a Wednesday briefing.
The economic fallout of the state’s “stay-at-home” order took center stage.
Holcomb said he’s been in contact with his predecessor, Vice President Mike Pence, to discuss the national and state impact of the pandemic.
“A few minutes ago, I got off the phone with my predecessor, Vice President Pence,” Holcomb said. “I was able to share with him what our concerns were…we’re very encouraged by what we’re hearing from the administration.”
He also commended Hoosiers for coming together during a difficult time.
“Folks are stepping up like I’ve never seen before.”
Those efforts include companies that have shifted to produce much-needed goods like masks and hand sanitizer during the pandemic.
As for the state’s $2 billion surplus, the governor said he was waiting to evaluate the federal government’s plans before deploying it.
“We haven’t spent that surplus yet,” he said. “This is the exact reason we were so fiscally prudent year after year after year.”
As for the stay-at-home and essential business order, Holcomb said Hoosiers who feel their business is violating the order should contact the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration to file a complaint.
Dr. Kristina Box, the state’s health commissioner, said Indiana had confirmed 477 cases of COVID-19 so far. The state reported 14 total deaths.
Indiana state has received more supplies for health care workers, including personal protective equipment, from the strategic national stockpile, Box said.
When pressed on demographic information regarding the coronavirus, Box said she would work to get the data together. The state is testing more people; those results show about 13% to 15% are testing positive for COVID-19.
Superintendent Jennifer McCormick said there were four priorities for her department: resources, academic support, engaging educators and providing guidance for schools and districts. She acknowledged that the pandemic has been a hardship for many.
Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger said the department has served as a “concierge service” for businesses in the state. He’s been in contact with more than 1,000 businesses to learn about issues they’re facing during the pandemic.
Small businesses can apply for loans through the Small Business Administration.
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch expressed concerns about state tourism workers.
“I ask you to think about our travel and hospitality workers. Think of creative ways to ‘shop local,’” she urged.
Online resources are available at VisitIndiana.com. She also said this was a critical time for farmers.
“Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation,” she said. “People need to connect with their loved ones.”
She mentioned e-learning, telemedicine and social media as ways for people to stay together despite social distancing protocols.
(This story was originally published on March 25, 2020)