1 year since Indiana’s first documented COVID-19 case: Hoosiers reflect on how their lives were impacted

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INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN) — Saturday marks one year since Indiana saw its first COVID-19 case and the governor declared a public emergency.  

Here’s a timeline of how the pandemic evolved in the Hoosier state.

March 6, 2020: A Marion County man was diagnosed with the state’s first documented coronavirus case. He went to Community North Hospital and was released into self isolation.

That same day, Governor Eric Holcomb also declared a public health emergency for Indiana.

March 11, 2020: The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.

March 16, 2020: The first Hoosier death was announced. It was a Marion County resident over the age of 60 with underlying conditions. It was later discovered that five people died from COVID. The first recorded deaths were two people on March 10.

Also on March 16, the governor announced that bars, nightclubs and restaurants were going to close for indoor dining.

July 27, 2020: Governor Holcomb issued a mask mandate for the state.

September 7, 2020: Indiana passed 100,000 COVID-19 cases.

November 22, 2020: Indiana passes 5,000 COVID-19 deaths.

December 14, 2020: Indiana gave its first COVID-19 vaccine to six healthcare workers in Fort Wayne.

February 2, 2020: Indiana passes 10,000 COVID-19 deaths

The virus has caused so many lives to change: family members have had to miss loved one’s funerals; couples have had to cancel or push back weddings.

Wedding photographer Dauss Miller says he’s seen it firsthand.

“I had one weekend where I had three of four separate brides either send me text messages or emails concerned about what to do for their wedding,” Dauss said. 

But he feels like all the restrictions were the right decision.

“No one really knew what to do to prevent the spread. And I think if more people made more solid concrete decisions about what to do and what not to do earlier, maybe we still wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in.”

While weddings have still gone on with masks, Miller says he lost about $70,000 from rescheduled and cancelled events in 2020. 

“It was a huge, unexpected shift in about every way of doing business.” But he says now couples are planning shorter events with less people. 

“It’s not like the big fun lavish party scene like it was* So events are happening, they’re just more low-key.” 

He says those not wanting to cut back their visions, are still waiting to say “I do.”

People have also had to halt travel, and offices shut down sending employees to work from home.  Like Chris Bush, who has been completely remote the entire pandemic. He says working from home took getting used it. 

“It was definitely a change and it was a little bit stressful. I look back and I think about that, I remember it really kind of being in a way fatiguing. Where after a while I found myself kind of tired,” said Bush. 

Bush works for a global software company and used to travel for work all the time. 

“Sometimes I would get on an airplane, go to a meeting for two hours and then leave that evening and come back,” said Bush. 

But now, working from home, he gets to spend more time with those he loves. 

“With this set up, it’s sometimes, you’re so back-to-back, that honestly it gets to be kind of fatiguing,” Bush said.  “I don’t necessarily miss traveling. I enjoy, obviously, being home with my kids and my wife and that’s a little bit more convenient for a lot of things we do as a family.” 

While he hasn’t returned to working in person, some schools have returned to in-person learning. Like Tri-West High School in Lizton, where seniors Morgan Hiland and Isabella Joanou go. 

“We’re supposed to enjoy senior year and it just kind of feels like we’re on auto-pilot all the time,” said Hiland. 

The pair were juniors when the pandemic hit. 

“Everything has kind of felt super-fast but not in a good way. They always say that high school is going to pass by really quick, and it’s going to be the time of your life, but after March 13 and kind of into the beginning of this school year, it’s just been pretty stressful,” Joanou said. 

They say they were still able to have fun. Like at football games, sporting school spirit and masks. But there are still many unknowns. 

“As someone who likes to plan stuff it’s been really stressful just not knowing when it’s going to hit,” Joanou said. 

Hiland added, “So I missed out on Junior Prom, and then we’re going into senior year still not knowing if we’re going to get a prom. So I might just miss prom completely, which is not fun.” 

Indiana is now seeing hospitalizations decline.  

Currently, more than a million Hoosier have been given their first dose of the vaccine  More than 600,000 have been fully vaccinated.  

More vaccines are on the way including nearly 54,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

(This story was originally published on March 5, 2021)

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