ap coronavirus test kits

Workers at Aria Diagnostics assemble COVID-19 tests in Indianapolis on Thursday. The company donated 50,000 kits to New York City and is selling the city 50,000 per week for the next two months.

INDIANAPOLIS — More than half a million people in Indiana have applied for unemployment benefits over the past five weeks as job losses mounted because of the coronavirus pandemic, and state officials are working to possibly ease some business restrictions meant to slow the spread of the disease.

The state’s COVID-19 death toll topped 700 people on Thursday, with 45 new fatalities. Indiana University researchers also announced a statewide study aimed at determining how widely the coronavirus has been spread.

Indiana had about 75,000 new jobless claims filed last week, federal officials said Thursday. While that’s down from the more than 110,000 claims filed in each of the three previous weeks, the state was typically receiving fewer than 3,000 new claims a week before widespread business shutdowns started in mid-March.

Indiana has totaled about 515,000 jobless claims during the five-week period.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has said he might ease the business and travel restrictions next week that were put in place under the March 25 statewide stay-at-home order. Those modifications could vary across Indiana, and major changes will be done in collaboration with neighboring states, Holcomb said.

Indianapolis has had about a third of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. Mayor Joe Hogsett said Thursday that some business leaders were worried about lifting restrictions too soon and causing renewed outbreaks.

“People, naturally, become impatient. But it would be extraordinarily dangerous, in my opinion, if we made the mistake of essentially trying to return to a complete sense of normalcy too quickly,” Hogsett said.

An Indiana University project announced Thursday intends to take nasal swabs and blood samples for coronavirus testing from at least 5,000 people ages 12 and older selected at random from around the state.

The testing will begin Saturday and researchers could give a preliminary report to state officials within about a week, said Nir Menachemi, a professor at IU’s Fairbanks School of Public Health. Indiana’s current testing has largely focused on those who are seriously ill or health-care workers, leading to a lack of information on the overall coronavirus spread, he said.

“If we are only testing people with the most serious symptoms, it seems like we’re only looking at the tip of the iceberg,” Menachemi said. “What our study allows us to do is look below the water and see the entire iceberg and try to get a sense of how large it is and how it is effecting different communities.”

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness. Although state health officials have been updating the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases every day, the actual number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.

More than half of the state’s newly recorded COVID-19 deaths occurred Tuesday or Wednesday, but others happened as far back as April 6, according to the State Department of Health.

Indiana’s death toll of 706 recorded since March 15 could jump by several dozen on Friday because state officials plan to start including deaths that doctors blame on COVID-19 but weren’t confirmed through testing.

(5) comments


U R A saint Joe! What can I say?

Joe King

February 7th, A day that will live in infamy.....


Joe King

Over 10 years of job growths gone in under 3 months.....over 45,000 deaths nationwide and now 700 in Indiana.....Thanks, Trump...


Hey joe! No more crying eyes! 5218 Beck Drive... testing Mon-Fri 8AM-12 noon. Call 574.335.8560.

Joe King

Thanks Fire, but until there are enough to test doctors, nurses, and first responders, I am not going to take a test. It's not fair to them. They are the ones that need the test more. Hopefully, when more test are available and offered to people not showing symptoms I will oblige. But until then, Trumps failure to provide enough tests to the nation will stand as one of our greatest failures.

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