There are no new Executive Orders today, and Governor Holcomb encouraged everyone to “tune in tomorrow for an update on the Stay at Home policy.” The biggest announcement of the day is that K-12 schools will be closed the rest of the academic year – see below for more details.
After a question was asked about the effectiveness of the Order and the conflict with seeing posts about people still gathering, Holcomb responded with, “Don’t be a denier of the facts. Covid-19 is spreading across the country and state at a scale and pace that is unprecedented. If you want to destroy an economy long-term, don’t deal with the virus. We have to make sure that we have the ability to treat those who need care and do what we can to flatten the curve. This requires us to be responsible; to not send kids into classroom; to not send people into unessential jobs. For those ignoring the reality, you are causing other people harm and you are prolonging this period of staying home. If you’re ignoring this guidance, it’s at your own peril and everyone you love’s peril.”
Several times he referenced the new #INThisTogether social media campaign. If you want to be part of the moement, search for that hashtag on any social media outlet or visit the website at: www.INThisTogetherCampaign.com.
Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Payne updated the state on several Unemployment Insurance items today:
- Indiana had 164,243 initial Unemployment claims for the week ending March 28th. The previous high (week ending 1/10/2009) was 28,000. The highest previous total for an entire month was 157,000 (also in 2009).
- So far there have been more than 210,000 phone interactions this week after 158,000 last week. This is an exceptionally high call volume and is overloading the system.
- In process of hiring 77 new employees to assist with the volume; the first wave of new employees starts next week.
- Before calling, individuals are urged to check the Unemployment Insurance website. It is updated daily with new information including a regularly updated FAQ.
- Applicants should expect a wait time of approximately 21 days between submitting a claim and the payment being made. Last week, they issued 169,000 payments.
- It will likely be May before they have full guidance from the Federal Department of Labor about administering the newly authorized groups from the CARES Act (contractors, freelance workers, self-employed, limited work history, etc.) and incorporating the $600/week additional payment.
- If an individual falls into one of the CARES Act groups (contractor for example), if you apply now, you will be denied, but they are holding all those denials until guidelines are established and they will reprocess the claim. You should not have to reapply.
- They should have a process to apply over the phone in place by next week. In the meantime, the internet option works great for those with access.
- There is a Facebook Live event next Wednesday, April 8th at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Learn more about it here.
Another big update today was from State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Jennifer McCormick
- All K-12 schools shall provide online or continuous learning instruction only – no further in-person instruction.
- For a school corporation to fulfill their year requirement, they must have either 160 instructional days OR an additional 20 instructional days after the Executive Order is signed.
- For HS Seniors: if they were on track to graduate (had earned credits through Semester 7 and were enrolled in the classes required to graduate), they will graduate this year. They are waiving usual graduation test requirements.
- For others earning HS credits, you will need to earn the credits for your future graduation – the local school corporation will determine if the credit was earned.
- Students and families should look for further guidance from their local school corporations.
Employee Information & Reminders:
- If your business can make or donate PPE, contact: COVIDResponse@iedc.in.gov. Or if your business can offer a service or other product (housing for national guard, cooking facilities for mass production of food, etc.), you can also contact: COVIDResponse@iedc.in.gov.
- The SWIN Chamber has put many resources on their website at: www.swinchamber.com
- If an employer has a question about whether they are essential, they can call the hotline at 877-820-0890 between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern time each day. Good answers also available at: www.in.gov/criticalindustries
- When asked about a state economic package, Governor Holcomb noted that the state is still working through implementing the CARES Act and how employee and employer benefits all snap together. Indiana will make sure that we look at incentives to keep Hoosiers on the payroll and how we maintain our competitive position.
General Covid-19 Response Update
- 3039 confirmed cases and 78 deaths with 16,285 tests reported as of this morning at www.coronavirus.in.gov.
- They are still in process of having more detailed information to share regarding hospitalization and ventilator usage rate. They did share today that of the 3000 positive cases, more than 700 are currently in ICU care.
When asked about the public wearing masks, Dr. Box responded that first of all, we should not be in the public very long other than for essential errands and for exercise – all the while exercising social distancing. If the public wants to use the homemade masks, that is OK, but N95 and surgical masks should be preserved for healthcare providers.