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Indiana schools being allowed 20-day break to stem virus

Indiana schools will be allowed to close for up to 20 days this school year without penalties, the governor’s office announced Thursday among steps toward helping stem the coronavirus spread.

Posted: Mar 12, 2020 6:00 PM
Updated: Mar 13, 2020 3:02 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana schools will be allowed to close for up to 20 days this school year without penalties, the governor’s office announced Thursday among steps toward helping stem the coronavirus spread.

Gov. Eric Holcomb is also discouraging non-essential gatherings of more than 250 people in sites such as churches, stadiums, conference rooms and auditoriums. The announcement came as the NCAA and the Big Ten called off basketball tournament games scheduled for Indianapolis and a worker at Fiat Chrysler’s transmission factory in Kokomo tested positive for the coronavirus.

The state’s health department also reported another confirmed COVID-19 illness, giving Indiana 12 cases out of 64 people tested.

More than a dozen colleges across the state — including Indiana, Purdue and Ivy Tech — are taking steps such as extending spring breaks and temporarily canceling classroom instruction. Nearly all of Indiana’s K-12 schools have remained open, but Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said Thursday that all Marion County public and charter schools will close for three weeks beginning Monday. They will reopen April 6.

The governor’s office said schools should be planning for broader closures, including moving classes online and remote classroom options. School districts can seek a 20-day waiver of the state’s required 180 instructional days for the rest of the current school year.

“I fully expect there will be additional actions warranted in the coming days,” Holcomb said in a statement. “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.”

Fiat Chrysler said the Kokomo factory was still operating Thursday. The sick employee’s work area was disinfected and co-workers who came in direct contact with him were quarantined at home. It’s the first known case of coronavirus in a U.S. auto factory.

Also Thursday, the Indiana High School Athletic Association announced boys basketball regional games on Saturday will be played before limited audiences, with each team allowed no more than 75 admissions.

The loss of the Big Ten and NCAA tournament games in Indianapolis will hit the city hard. The NCAA games were expected to draw some 42,000 people to the city and generate about $20 million in revenue for local businesses, according to the tourism group Visit Indy.

Jim Dora Jr., president of General Hotels Corp., which manages several Indianapolis hotels, said that lost business can’t be replaced.

“My biggest concern is for my associates and for the associates in every business, restaurant, hotel in the area — the entire supply chain is basically all going to come to a stop,” Dora told the Indianapolis Business Journal.

The World Health Organization has declared a coronavirus pandemic.

For most, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and a cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.

According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness get better in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

The Indianapolis Athletic Club Foundation has canceled the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Tent Party that was set for Friday and the Shamrock Run Walk scheduled for Saturday.

This year’s legislative session ended Thursday with lawmakers taking no action related to the virus. Republican leaders said the governor’s office believed it had all the necessary authority to act.

Holcomb last spoke publicly about the virus situation on Friday when health officials announced the state’s first confirmed COVID-19 illness.

Democratic legislative leaders said Holcomb should be more visible in providing updates and information on topics such as the availability of testing kits.

“Communication is going to be so important on this issue,” said Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane of Anderson. “The clearer it can be made as to here’s what we’re doing as state, here’s how you should react as a citizen to this, the better off we’re going to be.”

___

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1309459

Reported Deaths: 24018
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook5245929847
DuPage869211254
Will72209968
Lake64862965
Kane55955753
Winnebago31341460
Madison29912515
St. Clair27220504
McHenry27207278
Peoria21504284
Champaign19902139
Sangamon17870230
McLean17096171
Tazewell16095259
Rock Island14319305
Kankakee13576199
Kendall1241790
LaSalle11835232
Macon10284190
DeKalb9390118
Vermilion9101127
Adams8231117
Williamson7229126
Whiteside6913164
Boone642971
Ogle579978
Clinton570890
Grundy562971
Coles554894
Knox5344137
Jackson486763
Henry474863
Effingham468471
Livingston461883
Macoupin460681
Stephenson454280
Woodford443063
Marion4415115
Franklin433770
Monroe431790
Jefferson4167119
Randolph409684
Lee400151
Morgan377679
Logan365456
Fulton364850
Montgomery364773
Bureau355181
Christian352772
Fayette314054
Perry313059
Iroquois291064
Jersey263549
McDonough261144
Douglas255335
Saline251453
Lawrence239525
Shelby225037
Union223040
Crawford209325
Bond198924
Cass194824
Pike177451
Jo Daviess176824
Clark176732
Warren173946
Wayne173452
Hancock173030
Richland172140
Carroll171736
Ford170746
Edgar166939
White166526
Washington162825
Moultrie157526
Clay147343
Mason142842
Greene142433
Piatt141914
Johnson139814
De Witt139723
Mercer136933
Wabash134112
Massac131439
Cumberland128319
Menard118812
Jasper114317
Marshall99817
Hamilton82415
Schuyler7095
Brown6916
Pulaski6807
Stark61223
Edwards55812
Henderson52114
Calhoun5122
Scott4691
Alexander46211
Gallatin4534
Putnam4483
Hardin37012
Pope3073
Out of IL70
Unassigned02296

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 710607

Reported Deaths: 13248
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion968581722
Lake51908949
Allen39337672
Hamilton34643406
St. Joseph34306543
Elkhart27477432
Vanderburgh22099394
Tippecanoe21927213
Porter17987301
Johnson17571374
Hendricks16854310
Clark12715190
Madison12367337
Vigo12240244
Monroe11510166
LaPorte11204204
Delaware10382184
Howard9698211
Kosciusko9165114
Hancock8014139
Bartholomew7913155
Warrick7702155
Floyd7568176
Wayne6917198
Grant6855171
Boone6568100
Morgan6414138
Dubois6091117
Marshall5801109
Dearborn571276
Cass5698104
Henry5588101
Noble543683
Jackson494172
Shelby481395
Lawrence4349118
Gibson429589
Harrison429171
Clinton420953
Montgomery418986
DeKalb413284
Whitley382239
Huntington379780
Miami373365
Knox367189
Steuben367157
Putnam353460
Jasper352546
Wabash348178
Adams338253
Ripley335469
Jefferson318080
White308854
Daviess289999
Wells286881
Decatur279592
Fayette277362
Greene271085
Posey269533
Scott261553
Clay255445
LaGrange255470
Randolph236080
Washington231631
Spencer228131
Jennings225448
Fountain209345
Sullivan208042
Starke206252
Owen192756
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178353
Rush170824
Vermillion166343
Franklin166035
Tipton161543
Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130734
Pulaski114345
Newton104234
Brown100740
Crawford97914
Benton97413
Martin83115
Warren80215
Switzerland7698
Union70110
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408