The Journal Gazette
Saturday, March 28, 2020 1:00 am

State expects mid-April virus peak

Allen County sees 3 new cases; LaGrange reports its first 2

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana could see the peak of COVID-19 cases by mid-to-late April, the state health commissioner said Friday.

“I still think we are a little bit in the calm before the storm,” said Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana health commissioner.

The news came at Gov. Eric Holcomb's daily press conference, where he said he will extend the stay-at-home order set to end at midnight April 6 if need be – “we'll let the numbers drive it.”

He added that the cases of the coronavirus are compounding like a snowball rolling downhill getting bigger and bigger.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has projected an April 14 peak and also said Indiana would likely have a shortage of hospital beds of almost 3,000.

Holcomb conceded he knows the number of beds and ventilators the state has even though the administration won't release it to the public.

“Right now, we know that we have the inventory to handle where we are today,” he said. When Indiana is closer to a spike or peak he promised to keep the public informed on measures taken to increase capacity.

An additional three Allen County residents tested positive for COVID-19 Friday, bringing the total to 22 cases.

Also Friday, the LaGrange County Health Department reported the county's first two cases of the novel coronavirus, and the Noble County Health Department reported the second case in that county.

Statewide there were 981 cases – a 52% one-day increase – and 24 deaths, a 41% increase.

For the first time the Indiana State Department of Health released the age ranges of the infected – with 56% age 50 and older. More than 30% of the cases are between the ages of 30 and 50.

Box said some people might be surprised that only 8.3% are above 80, but she said that age group has been listening and staying home and isolating.

The Indiana Department of Correction also announced Friday it changed the mission of Indiana Correctional Industry's production lines at Miami Correctional Facility from offender uniforms to the production of protective equipment. Offenders are now making face-shields, gowns and masks for first responders.

They can produce up to 200 gowns and masks per day.

Additionally, the shop is producing 650 12-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer.

“I'm pleased to have the Department of Correction joining the ranks of Hoosier businesses, large and small, stepping forward in the fight against COVID-19. Production of these items will lessen the strain on the supply chain, leaving more of these products available for Hoosiers,” Holcomb said.

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