I know, if you’re like me, the Coronavirus and the response to it have been at the front of your minds. It is challenging sometimes to know what to do and where to go to get good information so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.
To that end, I sat down with Kevin Speer, the CEO of Hendricks Regional Health Hospital, yesterday (along with Danville Superintendent Tracey Shafer) to get his perspective on these things. Kevin and his team are doing a great job, working under very difficult and ever-changing circumstances to meet the needs of our community as quickly as they can. He said that this pandemic is real, and that we should use the necessary precautions to help limit the spread – precautions like washing our hands, social distancing, etc. to help “flatten the curve” so that those on the front lines of health care can continue to have the capacity to meet the threat. Kevin showed me and Supt. Shafer the “war room” (my words) where they are addressing their critical response to this situation.
Additionally, I and the other leaders in the legislative and executive branches of our state government have been in regular communication. And I have talked with a number of business owners, pastors, and other community leaders to glean insight and offer assistance in navigating this situation.
I say all of this to say, leaders at all levels of healthcare, government, business, etc. are doing everything possible to help protect our communities during this unprecedented experience. This is a time to come together as friends, neighbors, and fellow Hoosiers to do what we can to be a part of the solution by helping where we each can, praying for wisdom for our leaders and peace for people, and persevering together during this trying time.
One of the challenges for folks is navigating the tsunami of information that is coming through the media sources and across our social media feeds. What is true and what is not? And where can we get good information? There are a number of reliable sources. I want to provide some key information to you below that hopefully will be of help to you. At the very bottom, you will also see a link to the page that our Senate team has put together as a hub for key information and links you may need to get further updates as we weather this storm together.
COVID-19 FAQ and guidelines
The Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) COVID-19 information page offers updates on confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our state, a link where you can sign up for a daily email update (scroll to the bottom of the page), and many other important FAQ and guidance documents. ISDH has also implemented a 24-hour toll-free call center at 877-826-0011 that includes options for the public (ext. 1) and healthcare providers (ext. 2). Call center staff are available to answer general questions, but will not offer medical advice or provide test results.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’swebsite on COVID-19 also provides updates on confirmed cases in the United States, resources for communities and health care professionals, and a variety of guidelines to protect yourself.
Resources for Hoosier schools and students
With Hoosier students now learning from home, the Indiana Department of Education (DOE) is providing teachers and students a variety of free educational resources for remote learning, including information about free or low-cost WiFi connectivity and subject area and grade level specific digital learning sites.
In addition, the DOE COVID-19 resource site offers planning and guidance documents for schools.
The Commission for Higher Education is also compiling information about COVID-19 response policies by Indiana’s public and private postsecondary institutions.
Resources for Hoosier employees and small businesses
In light of COVID-19, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is reminding Hoosiers that applying for unemployment insurance benefits is completed electronically at Unemployment.IN.gov. There, you can find a link to online filing and additional unemployment resources, including FAQ for COVID-19 work-related issues.
DWD is also working with WorkOne sites across the state to ensure unemployment insurance claimants who need access to a computer have that access. An interactive map to find your local site and its contact information can be found here.
Additionally, with COVID-19 impacting the operation of Hoosier businesses, Gov. Holcomb recently announced small businesses are eligible for financial assistance under a disaster designation by the U.S. Small Business Administration. To apply for loans or receive more information about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, visit SBA.gov/disaster.
Hoosiers who are in need of the following services can also refer to these resources.
- Child care assistance – Family and Social Services Administration’s Child Care Resource and Referral Agency Map and Brighter Futures resources
- Fraud, theft or price gouging assistance – COVID-19-related complaints can be submitted online to the Office of the Attorney General
- Tax-related resources – online contact information is available while in-person Indiana Department of Revenue services are closed
To stay up to date on the COVID-19 developments, regulations and resources, you can view Gov. Holcomb’s latest announcements here.
This link will provide you some critical information and links to resources that you may need. Please keep this information handy, particularly because developments are changing so quickly, and pass it along to anyone else you know who may need it. If there is anything that I or my staff can do to try to assist you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.