INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed an executive order that extended the closures of public school districts to May 1st today as part of a continued attempt to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness. All state-mandated assessments will also be canceled for the current academic year.
He also ordered that the current state of emergency be extended an additional 30 days when it expires on April 5th.
“We understand how hard all of these efforts are on Hoosiers as we try to flatten the curve and slow the spread,” Holcomb said. “These are times that try our souls… I’m more convinced, now than ever, that we are going to come out on the other side… stronger for it.”
“We have to go on offense to slow the spread,” Holcomb added. “We can’t control everything, but we can control our own actions: good social distancing, washing our hands, donating blood, expressing your love for your neighbor, checking on them. These are all things that we can do.”
In addition, 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 also choose not to 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 the flexibility to utilize the funds as needed for relief efforts and to maintain current services.
So far there are 56 cases of COVID-19 in Indiana across 22 counties and two deaths. Earlier today, Wabash County and St. Joseph County issued travel advisories as a result of coronavirus-related concerns.
Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box reiterated calls for Hoosiers to stay home from work if able, especially if they have mild symptoms, and to practice social isolation to avoid spreading infection.
Most of those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 develop mild to moderate symptoms and eventually recover. The respiratory disease is, however, dangerous to the elderly and those with weakened or compromised immune systems.