Indiana governor orders residents to stay home due to virus

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday ordered residents to remain home for two weeks starting Wednesday, except for workers in essential industries or to go outside for groceries and medicine, to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Holcomb’s order, which mirrors orders in adjacent states, begins at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and ends at 11:59 p.m. April 6, but he said it could be extended if needed. It directs the state’s 6.8 million residents to stay at home “except when they are at work or for permitted activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies, and for health and safety.”

Holcomb said that the next two weeks “are critical if we are to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“Get groceries only when you need them and only buy what you need. I’m telling you the next two weeks are critical … if we’re going to slow the spread,” the governor said in a televised address from his Statehouse office.

The state has reported seven deaths and 259 virus infections. The state’s most recent death from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, was an adult over the age of 60 in northeastern Indiana. Allen County’s health department announced his death Sunday, the Indiana State Department of Health said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe ones can take three to six weeks to get better.

The governors of adjacent Illinois, Ohio and Michigan, as well other states, have ordered residents to remain in their homes, except for to perform essential tasks, to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

On Friday, Holcomb delayed Indiana’s May 5 primary election until June 2 but said he would need to see more signs that the virus was spreading statewide before taking action to order residents to stay home.

The governor has ordered all schools to remain closed until at least May 1, banned public gatherings of more than 50 people and closed restaurants for all but pickup and carryout business.

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