Indiana health chief: State 'very early' in virus outbreatk

Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana Health Commissioner, answers questions about COVID-19 infections and its impact on the state as Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb listens during a briefing at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. via AP.

Top Indiana officials were firm Tuesday that residents and businesses needed to abide by the state’s new stay-at-home order in order to slow the continuing growth of coronavirus illnesses.

Posted: Mar 24, 2020 6:05 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Top Indiana officials were firm Tuesday that residents and businesses needed to abide by the state’s new stay-at-home order in order to slow the continuing growth of coronavirus illnesses.

The order from Gov. Eric Holcomb takes effect Wednesday and comes as Indiana saw its number of confirmed COVID-19 illnesses grow to 365 on Tuesday — more than 12 times what state health officials reported a week earlier.

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Indiana’s coronavirus-related deaths have gone from 2 to 12 during that time.

Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said the state’s hospitals were not yet seeing a surge of patients but were seeking additional sources of protective equipment for health care workers along with monitoring intensive care unit bed and ventilator capacity at major hospitals for the coming weeks.

“We’re still in the very early parts of this outbreak,” Box said. “We will continue to see more cases.”

Holcomb urged all residents to take the stay-at-home order that runs at least through April 6 even as President Donald Trump said Tuesday he hoped to have “the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter” on April 12.

Holcomb said bluntly that any non-essential business “shouldn’t be” open.

“We’re trying to be as clear and serious and blunt and serious about this as we can,” he said. “.... We’re asking for citizens’ buy-in over the next two weeks.”

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