Skip to Content

Gov. Holcomb extends state of emergency, orders all schools closed until May 1

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00
Eric Holcomb COVID 19 presser

INDIANA (WPTA21) - Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and state health officials said during a press conference announced additional actions to protect Hoosiers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor said he is signing executive orders that extend the closure of schools, provide economic relief and protections for individuals and businesses, and expand unemployment insurance benefits for those impacted by job loss.

“Every day we learn more about how to tackle this monster. We are being thoughtful about how to approach every action we are taking in this national public health emergency and putting Hoosiers’ health and safety first,” said Gov. Holcomb.

Daily COVID-19 testing capacity in Indiana has expanded with the addition of a new partnership between the Indiana State Department of Health and Eli Lilly and Company, and at least one other entity has initiated testing this week.

In the past 24 hours, about 200 tests have been completed.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LATEST INDIANA COVID-19 MAP

“As we increase the number of tests analyzed each day, no one should be caught off guard that the number of positive cases will increase,” Dr. Kris Box, state health commissioner said.

“This will help us know where community spread is occurring in Indiana and help us mobilize resources in affected areas.”

While testing is ramping up in Indiana, health officials also want to remind the public that most individuals with mild symptoms do not need to be tested due to a shortage of supplies.

Gov. Holcomb also ordered all K-12 public schools to remain closed until May 1. Non-public schools are also ordered closed.

"Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense and we have to go on offense to slow the spread," Gov. Holcomb said during the Thursday afternoon news conference.

“I know we can’t control everything, but we can as Hoosiers control our own behavior and actions.” 

Here is a summary what Gov. Holcomb has ordered:

State of Emergency Extension

  • The Governor will extend the current state of emergency an additional 30 days when it expires on April 5.

K-12 schools

  • All K-12 public schools will remain closed until May 1. Non-public schools are also ordered closed. This date may be revised to extend through the end of the 2019-2020 school year if circumstances warrant.
  • All-state mandated assessments will be canceled for the current academic year. The governor has contacted U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to share the state’s plan and also has asked the Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick to pursue any federal waivers needed to cancel the requirements for accountability, chronic absenteeism and state-mandated assessments.

Economy

  • The state of Indiana will align with the federal government to delay state income tax payments from April 15 to July 15. The U.S. Treasury extended the deadline to pay federal income tax by 90 days.
  • Penalties will be waived for 60 days for property tax paid after May 11. The state will work with counties that may experience cash flow stress because of the delay.
  • The state will not immediately move forward with using $300 million in reserves to pay for several capital projects approved in the just-concluded legislative session and instead maintain flexibility to utilize the funds as needed for relief efforts and to maintain current services. The state will consider using bonding authority to move forward with the just-approved capital projects.
  • Providers of essential utility services such as gas and electric, broadband, telecom, water and wastewater services are prohibited from discontinuing service to any customer during the public health emergency.
  • The state’s application to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was approved on Wednesday. This program provides targeted, low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help small businesses and nonprofits overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of coronavirus. See more at SBA.gov/Disaster.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

  • The state will interpret Indiana’s unemployment laws to the broadest extent possible to cover Hoosiers who are out of work because of COVID-19.
  • Benefits will be paid to individuals who file their initial unemployment claims late.
  • The Department of Workforce Development will allow individuals to continue to accrue unemployment eligibility if they take work leave because of COVID-19.
  • DWD will seek federal authorization to provide unemployment benefits for those who are not otherwise eligible for unemployment, such individuals who have recently started a job.
  • For employers, DWD will not assess certain experience rate penalties because of employees who receive unemployment benefits because of COVID-19.

Housing

  • No residential eviction proceedings or foreclosure actions may be initiated during the public health emergency. This does not relieve the individual of obligations to pay rent or mortgage payments.
  • All public housing authorities are requested to extend deadlines for housing assistance recipients and required documentation to show eligibility for housing programs.
  • The Indiana Department of Financial Institutions and Indiana Community Housing Development Authority are required to work with financial institutions to identify tools to help promote housing stability.

Social Services

  • Participants in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are not required to make premium payments.
  • Job search requirements are waived for those applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits.
  • The Family and Social Services Administration will seek a federal waiver to extend renewals for existing Medicaid and HIP recipients.
  • Telehealth services for mental health, substance use disorder and prescribing for Medicaid covered services will be expanded.

Insurance

  • The commissioner of the state Department of Insurance will request that insurers institute a 60-day moratorium on policy cancellations for non-payment of premiums. This does not suspend a policyholder’s obligation to make payments.
  • The commissioner will ask health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing without requiring prior authorization.
  • The commissioner will request that health insurers not increase prices or coverage costs that involve medical care for COVID-19.

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

  • To limit the number of in-branch transactions, late fees will be waived for several driver’s licenses and identification card renewals, vehicle registrations, titles, and certain other transactions.
  • Other operational changes in branches are being instituted to provide for the safety of employees and customers in branches, such as spacing between terminals and limiting the number of customers in the lobby.

Veterans

  • Requirements have been relaxed for veterans to qualify for awards from the Military Family Relief Fund.
  • Awards in excess of $2,500 may be approved by the IDVA director during the public health emergency.

Health and Professional Licensing

  • Mental health professionals are permitted to practice via telemedicine.
  • Advance Practice Registered Nurses are allowed to provide services in multiple locations.
  • The state health commissioner may waive requirements of the nursing home certificate of need statute to respond to COVID-19 issues for long-term care facilities.

Coronavirus resources

  • Click here for the latest CDC novel coronavirus resources and links.
  • Track the COVID-19 globally using this map tracker here.
  • You can view the latest Indiana COVID-19 numbers here.
  • Track Ohio's coronavirus numbers here.
  • Need to get tested? Click here to find a testing site near you.
  • You can catch up on the latest ABC21 coronavirus coverage here.
  • Sign up here for the latest local, state and national news regarding COVID-19.
  • Click here to sign up for ABC21 News and Weather Alerts

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

Skip to content