INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Eleven residents of a central Indiana nursing home have died from COVID-19 while the overall state toll from the disease caused by the coronavius has risen by 12 to 139, state health officials said Monday.
In addition to the 11 dead at the Bethany Pointe Health Campus in Anderson, three workers there have been hospitalized, including two in critical condition, Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said during a state news briefing on the pandemic.
The state is helping to transfer residents there without COVID-19 symptoms to another skilled nursing home, Box said.
She said an outbreak in a nursing home had been her biggest fear from the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a heartbreaking situation and illustrates what a brutal toll the COVID-19 can take on our most vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, this will not be the last outbreak of this kind,” Box said.
In southern Indiana, three residents of nursing home in Mitchell have died from COVID-19 and 19 others there have tested positive for the disease, the facility said last week.
Nursing homes across the country have been on lockdown for weeks under federal orders to protect their frail, elderly residents from coronavirus, but a wave of deadly outbreaks nearly every day since has suggested the measures including a ban on visits and daily health screenings of staffers either came too late or were not rigorous enough.
Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a new two-week stay-at-home order for Indiana residents Monday and extended for two weeks limits on in-person activity at state government offices and restrictions on restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
The new order states retail businesses that provide “necessities of life” may remain open but should limit the number of customers in the establishment at any given time; implement special hours for elderly and other vulnerable populations; and limit hours of operation to restock and clean.
All other retail business may remain open if they restrict sales to online or call-in ordering with delivery or curbside pickup, said the order, which was due to take effect at is 11:59 p.m. Monday.
All campgrounds will be closed except for those who use recreational vehicles or cabins as their primary residence, Holcomb said State parks remain open to daily visitors.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are among those particularly susceptible to more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.
Meanwhile, the Indiana State Department of Health reported the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state approached 5,000.
With 536 new cases confirmed, the total number of Indiana residents known to have the coronavirus has risen to 4,944, the health department said.
Central Indiana had more than half of the new cases. Marion County, home to Indianapolis, had the most new cases at 204, while adjacent Hamilton County had 35, the department said. Johnson County had 28, Hendricks had 20, Hancock had 12 and Morgan had 10.