From first Indiana case to pandemic: A quick overview of a tumultuous week

Just like the pandemic that is sweeping the world, news about COVID-19 is developing almost too quickly to comprehend.

It was just 10 days ago that Indiana officials announced the first positive case, a Marion County resident who had previously come into contact with someone who had attended a biotech conference in Boston.

At a press conference in the Statehouse, reporters peppered Gov. Eric Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box with every possible question about the patient’s case, how hospital workers handled it, and what the state was doing about it. In turn, Holcomb and Box made a case for why Indiana needed federal help to deal with the coming outbreak.

Even the second case, announced two days later, seemed big news The patient, from Hendricks County, had also been in contact with a worker at the biotech conference.

What a difference a week makes.

Since then, huge sporting events and seasonal play (NCAA, the Big Ten Conference, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, National Basketball Association) have called off events or suspended play for weeks. Colleges and universities have sent students home. Schools have closed their doors. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs were ordered to shut down, except for take-out and delivery.

In the meantime, hospitals are bracing for how they will meet a possible deluge in patients, and have begun canceling elective, non-urgent surgeries, in order to preserve blood and other resources, and to try to keep the virus from spreading. Holcomb on Monday directed the cancellation to widen to ambulatory surgery centers.

Also Monday, Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Marion County Public Health Department issued a series of orders prohibiting all gatherings of 50 or more people, and extended closures to entertainment venues, gyms and fitness centers, as well as restaurants and bars.

And just 10 days after the first case in Indiana was confirmed, the state health department on Monday updated that figure to 24 positive cases, with 139 total people tested.

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Holcomb announced the first death from COVID-19. A Marion County resident over the age of 60 who had suffered from underlying medical conditions, died at a Community Health hospital.

“Sadly, we knew it would happen,” Holcomb said. “We anticipate it will again.”

An ongoing roundup of virus-related news can be found here.

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