INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Community Health says it’s had to make “some hard choices” during the coronavirus pandemic, impacting about 1% of its workforce of 15,000 at 200 sites.
News 8 this week asked Indianapolis-area hospital groups — Community Health, IU Health and Franciscan Health — if they have had any layoffs during the pandemic.
A spokeswoman for Community Health, Kris Kirschner, replied with a statement: “As we begin to adapt to a ‘new normal’ which now includes COVID-19, we must evaluate how we operate to meet the needs of our patients and streamline so we can move forward from a position of strength. We’ve had to make some hard choices as we work to build efficiencies and find more effective ways to do our work. These efforts have impacted some roles, but we’ve been able to retain more than 99 percent of our workforce through these unprecedented times. We are proud of our caregivers and grateful for their unwavering commitment to provide exceptional care to our patients.”
An spokesman for Indianapolis-based IU Health, Jonathon Hosea, replied, “I’m happy to say IU Health has had no layoffs or pay cuts during the COVID-19 crisis.”
IU Health has more than 200 locations in the state with more than 30,000 employees.
A Franciscan Health spokesman, Joe Stuteville, said, “There have been no layoffs at Franciscan Health hospitals during the pandemic. Many of our employees have been temporarily reassigned to other areas, as needed, to provide care to patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and other unrelated health conditions.”
Franciscan Health is a 12-hospital system serving Indiana and south suburban Chicago. It employs more than 18,000 people.
Indiana coronavirus timeline
With updated information from the Indiana Department of Health on June 18, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.
- March 6: Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirms the first case in Indiana. Officials say the Marion County resident had recently traveled to Boston to attend a BioGen conference as a contractor.
- March 8: ISDH confirms a second case. An adult in Hendricks County who had also traveled to the BioGen conference was placed in isolation. Noblesville Schools say a parent and that parent’s children will be self-quarantining after attending an out-of-state event where someone else tested positive.
- March 9: Avon Community School Corp. says a student on March 8 tested positive.
- March 10: ISDH launches an online tracker. Ball State University basketball fans learn the Mid-American Conference tourney will have no fans in the stands. Three businesses operating nursing homes in Indiana announce they will no longer allow visitors.
- March 11: The Indianapolis-based NCAA announces the Final Four basketball tournaments will be conducted with essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big Ten announces all sports events, including the men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will have no fans starting March 12. Ball State University suspends in-person classes the rest of the spring semester. NBA suspends all games, including the Indiana Pacers, until further notice. Butler University and the University of Indianapolis extend spring break, after which they will have virtual classes.
- March 12: Gov. Eric Holcomb announces new protections that led to extended public school closings and the cancellation of large events across the state. The NCAA cancels its basketball tournaments. The Big Ten suspends all sporting events through the winter and spring seasons. The league including the Indy Fuel hockey team suspends its season. Indy Eleven says it will reschedule four matches. Indianapolis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled.
- March 13: The Indiana High School Athletic Association postpones the boys basketball tournament. Wayzata Home Products, a Connersville cabinet maker, shuts down and lays off its entire workforce due to market uncertainty. Gov. Holcomb announces actions including the elimination of Medicaid co-pays for COVID-19 testing and the lifting of limits on the number of work hours per day for drivers of commercial vehicles. Franklin College says it will begin online classes March 18 and empty residence halls of students in two days. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis closes indefinitely. The Indianapolis Public Library joins other libraries across Indiana and closes all facilities indefinitely.
- March 14: The Indiana Gaming Commission says all licensed gaming and racing operations will close in two days for an indefinite period.
- March 15: Indiana had its first death. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis announces it will suspend all elective, non-urgent surgeries.
- March 16: Indiana had its second death. Gov. Holcomb announced the first Hoosier death. He closes bars, restaurants and nightclubs to in-person patrons, but maintains carryout and delivery services.
- March 17: Indiana had its third and fourth deaths. ISDH announces Indiana’s second death. Indiana’s Catholic bishops cancel masses indefinitely. Gov. Holcomb activates the National Guard. Purdue, Butler and Indiana State universities cancel May commencement ceremonies.
- March 18: Indiana had its fifth death. Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana. The 500 Festival announces suspends all events. Simon Property Group closes all malls and retail properties.
- March 19: Gov. Holcomb extends Indiana’s state of emergency into May. Holcomb says he’ll close all K-12 public and nonpublic schools. Standardized testing was canceled. The state’s income-tax and corporate-tax payment deadline was extended to July 15. Holcomb says the state will waive job search requirements for people applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament was canceled. The Marion County Emergency Operations Center upgrades to Level 1 status.
- March 20: Indiana’s death toll rose to 9. ISDH announces Indiana’s third death. Gov. Holcomb moves the state’s primary election to June 2. Indiana University says it is postponing May commencement ceremonies on all campuses.
- March 21: Indiana’s death toll rises to 14. ISDH announces Indiana’s fourth death. Indiana National Guard says it and the Department of Transportation are distributing medical supplies to hospitals.
- March 22: Indiana’s death toll rises to 19. ISDH announces seven deaths.
- March 23: Indiana’s death toll rises to 24. Holcomb orders Hoosiers deemed nonessential to “stay at home” from March 24-April 7. Eli Lilly & Co. begins drive-thru testing for the coronavirus for health care workers with a doctor’s order. Ball State University cancels the May commencement.
- March 24: Indiana’s death toll rises to 29. Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says any Hoosiers out of work, including temporary layoffs, are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
- March 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 35. Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Indianapolis 500 is moved to Aug. 23. IndyGo suspends fares and changes its ride schedules.
- March 26: Indiana’s death toll rises to 44.
- March 27: Indiana’s death toll rises to 47.
- March 28: Indiana’s death toll rises to 58.
- March 29: Indiana’s death toll rises to 76. President Donald Trump announces in a press conference that the national social distancing recommendation will be extended by 30 days.
- March 30: Indiana’s death toll rises to 91. Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box predicts the arrival of the surge in cases and deaths could come in mid-April to late April, but could be as late as mid-May, “but we don’t know.”
- March 31: Indiana’s death toll rises above 100, to 113. Gov. Holcomb extends the limits of bars and restaurants to offer only “to go” and “carryout” through April 6. Health commissioner Box, asked about when Indiana will be in a surge of COVID-19 cases, says she thinks the surge is starting.
- April 1: Officials extend Marion County’s “stay at home” order through May 1. Marion County health officials say they will start COVID-19 testing services for front-line employees. Gov. Holcomb announces the #InThisTogether campaign.
- April 2: The state announces K-12 schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. The Indiana High School Athletic Association cancels spring sports seasons.
- April 3: Gov. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. The state receives a federal Major Disaster Declaration for all 92 counties. The Indiana National Guard says it, the Army Corps of Engineers and state health officials will begin to assess sites for alternate health care facilities.
- April 4: Indiana’s death toll rises above 200.
- April 6: The state reports a Madison County nursing home has had 11 deaths. Gov. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. He also limits additional businesses to carry-out only.
- April 7: Indiana’s death toll rises above 300. Indiana health commissioner Box says four long-term care facilities have 22 deaths that appear to be related to COVID-19.
- April 10: ISDH said 24 residents of a long-term care facility in Madison County have died from COVID-related illness.
- April 11: Indiana’s death toll rises above 400.
- April 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 500.
- April 16: Tests ID more than 10,000 Hoosiers with coronavirus. The governor says he expects Indiana to experience a reopening in early May.
- April 17: Indiana’s death toll rises above 600. The governor says that he will extend the “stay at home” order through May 1.
- April 20: Indiana’s death toll rises above 700. Gov. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order to May 1. The governor also says, if the medical supply chain is in good shape, other elective medical procedures can resume April 27.
- April 22: Indiana’s death toll rises above 800. The Tyson facility in Logansport voluntarily closes so 2,200 employees can be tested for COVID-19.
- April 24: Indiana’s death toll rises above 900. The Indianapolis City-County Council approves $25 million to help small businesses. Fishers City Council creates a city health department with a plan to test every resident.
- April 25: ISDH says it will launch an antibody testing study for Hoosiers; thousands of residents were randomly selected to participate in the study.
- April 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,000.
- April 28: Indiana officials say they will open COVID-19 testing to more Hoosiers, with expanded criteria and new testing services at 20 sites around the state.
- April 29: The state says it will spent $43 million on contact tracing.
- April 30: Indianapolis extends its stay-at-home order through May 15.
- May 1: Gov. Holcomb announces a phased reopening plan for the state of Indiana. He also extends the stay-at-home order to May 4.
- May 3: Tests ID more than 20,000 Hoosiers with coronavirus.
- May 4: Indiana enters Stage 2 of its Back on Track plan, which excludes Cass County until May 18, and Lake and Marion counties until May 11.
- May 6:The state begins testing for all Hoosiers at 20 sites, with plans to expand the number of sites to 50 in a week. Ivy Tech Community College says it will continue virtual classes when summer courses begin in June.
- May 8: Cris Johnston, director of the Office of Budget and Management, says the state missed out on nearly $1 billion in anticipated April revenues; all state agencies will be given budget-cutting goals. Purdue University OKs plans to reopen for the fall semester with social distancing and other safety measures.
- May 10: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,500.
- May 13: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,600.The first phase of a state-sponsored study of the coronavirus estimated about 186,000 Hoosiers had COVID-19 or the antibodies for the novel virus by May 1. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans for limited reopenings of worship services, retail establishments, libraries and restaurants.
- May 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,700.
- May 17: Marion County’s death toll rises above 500.
- May 18: Indiana reports its first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in a child. The Farbest Foods turkey-processing plant in Huntingburg is closed for three days; 91 people have tested positive there.
- May 19: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,800.
- May 21: Tests ID more than 30,000 Hoosiers with coronavirus.
- May 22: Indiana advances to Stage 3 of the Back on Track reopening plan. Indianapolis closes portions of five streets to allow restaurants to reopen with outdoor dining only.
- May 23: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,900.
- May 27: The U.S. death toll rises above 100,000. Indiana University says the fall semester will have in-person and online courses, plus an adjusted calendar through May 2021. Ball State University says the fall semester will be 13 straight weeks of in-person classes with no day off on Labor Day and no fall break.
- May 29: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,000. Places of worship in Marion County can begin holding indoor services at 50% capacity with proper social distancing. Jim Schellinger, Indiana secretary of commerce, said the federal Paycheck Protection Program has made 73,430 loans in Indiana totaling $9,379,164,461, the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has made 5,070 loans in Indiana totaling $445,428,500, and the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans Advance program has made 38,365 grants in Indiana totaling $136,554,000.
- June 1: Marion County restaurants begins serving customers indoors and outdoors with 50% capacity. Marion County salons, tattoo parlors reopen by appointment only. Marion County gyms, fitness centers and pools reopen with 50% capacity and no contact sports. However, a Marion County curfew that began the night of May 31 and continued into the morning of June 3 after rioting impacted the reopening of some businesses.
- June 3: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,100. Phase 2 of statewide testing of random Hoosiers by the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Health begins.
- June 5: Indiana reports May tax revenues were 20% short of projections made before the coronavirus closings started.
- June 8: Indianapolis leaders agree to spend $79 million in coronavirus relief funding on contact tracing, rent relief, personal protective equipment and support for small businesses.
- June 9: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,200.
- June 12: Indiana, excluding Marion County, advances to Stage 4 of reopening plan.
- June 15: Casinos and parimutuel racing reopens in the state.
- June 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,300.
- June 17: Tests ID more than 41,000 Hoosiers with coronavirus.
- June 19: Marion County will advance to Stage 4 of state’s reopening plan.
Florence, Northern Elite cancel football games | News, Sports, Jobs
Florence will forfeit its varsity football game Friday at Three Lakes, due to a lack of players, while Northern Elite has canceled the remaining two games of its varsity football season.
“We examined several angles to try and keep it going, but eventually came to the decision that it was no longer feasible,” said Scott Trevillian, Niagara principal/athletic director.
The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department plans to meet Thursday morning with area athletic directors for a recommendation on this weekend’s MHSAA playoff football games. There has been no in-person instruction or athletic activities at Dickinson County schools since Oct. 17, due to the coronavirus.
If played, Norway’s contest against West Iron will be moved to 1 p.m. Saturday in Iron River. It had previously been set for Friday night.
Other area games on the calendar for Saturday include Rogers City at Iron Mountain, at noon, and Ogemaw Heights at Kingsford, 2 p.m.
Scheduled eight-player games on Saturday are Engadine at North Central, noon, and Lake Linden-Hubbell at Forest Park, noon.
Northern Elite had been scheduled to host Coleman on Friday night and travel to Oconto Falls on Nov. 6.
Florence has a scheduled game Nov. 7 against Siren, Wis., in Rhinelander.
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Victorino upbeat about Lanai’s COVID-19 status | News, Sports, Jobs
Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino is confident that the COVID-19 outbreak on Lanai is under control after the issuing of a stay-at-home order Tuesday and encouraging results from recent surge testing.
After the virus outbreak last week, medical providers conducted nearly 1,000 tests Saturday, where six new coronavirus cases were discovered. Another three positive cases were added to the state Department of Health count for a total of nine Tuesday, but Victorino said that those three individuals were tested before the surge testing program.
All nine cases were included in Lanai’s total count, which was 87 as of Tuesday — the fourth highest island by cases in the state behind Oahu, Hawaii island and Maui.
“We’re in fairly good shape overall. However, I want the Lanaians to know that this lockdown is so important,” Victorino said Tuesday night during a news conference. “I’m very confident with keeping it under control. I think the community realizes the importance of working together and having respect for each other.”
The stay-at-home order will remain in place until Nov. 11. It requires people to only leave their home or place of lodging for essential activities, services or business. All travel to and from Lanai is restricted to essential work or medical purposes. All other travelers must quarantine for 14 days.
Essential workers to Lanai may request limited quarantine through the county.
Managing Director Sandy Baz said that these protocols will be evaluated on a daily basis.
So far, a total of 2,747 COVID-19 tests have been administered on Lanai — 87 percent of the resident population. The rate of positive cases was 3.13 percent. The seven-day average rolling rate was 4.66 percent.
“We want to give a big mahalo to all our health care workers, first responders and many others, who helped to provide this large scale testing event for our Lanai community,” Baz said.
Large social gatherings likely contributed to the outbreak, which shows “just how quickly” the virus can spread if mask wearing and social distancing protocols are not met, he added.
The Hawaii National Guard and the state Department of Health officials have been going “house to house” to ensure that families are taken care of by educating various groups and offering a native language translator.
“We are working very closely with the Lanai health providers as well as others to make sure that this cluster of our Polynesian community is managed and helped in every way possible,” Victorino said.
There will be testing available from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Lana’i Community Hospital.
Mass testing is set for 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday behind the Pulama Lana’i administrative building. Appointments are encouraged by calling Lanai’s Straub Medical Center at (808) 565-6423 or the Lanai Community Health Center at (808) 565-6919.
In other developments:
• Young Brothers said its barge service to Lanai will continue on schedule. The barge arrives Wednesdays at Kaumalapau Harbor from Honolulu and departs the same day back to Honolulu.
• Roselani Place, an assisted living facility on Maui, reported two possible cases from its recent round of testing Monday. The cases are pending further investigation by the Maui District Health Office, a news release said. Not counting the two cases, there have been 71 cases at the Kahului facility — 32 staff and 39 residents.
* Dakota Grossman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indonesia’s Pandemic Response: A Law to Create Millions of Jobs | Voice of America
TAIPEI, TAIWAN – A landmark law passed this month in Indonesia will open the populous, impoverished country to labor-intensive industry like many of its Southeast Asian neighbors despite a hit to worker rights, people on the ground say.
The 905-page Omnibus Bill on Job Creation bill will give millions of young people chances to work, including in formal jobs that can be hard to find because older Indonesian laws discouraged foreign investors from setting up factories, analysts believe.
Indonesians are struggling to earn income during an unrelenting COVID-19 outbreak that prompted shutdowns from April. The nation with nearly 400,000 infections reported a sharp drop in retail sales from April through August and a fall in exports over the three months ending in September.
“With this new law, it is expected that the investment would come not only to the Indonesian economy, but also come to the labor-intensive part, and by getting more investment in that area it is expected that more jobs will be created, and those jobs are more of the quality jobs, not only informal jobs,” said Yose Rizal Damuri, economics department head with the Center for Strategic and International Studies research organization in Jakarta.
Indonesia’s government and House of Representatives passed the bill ahead of schedule on October 5, the Jakarta Post reported. The bill aims to cut bureaucracy and make it easier for investors to create jobs, said Richard Borsuk, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies adjunct senior fellow in Singapore.
President Joko Widodo’s government sees this bill as part of his “legacy” to stimulate the 270 million-person country’s economy, Rizal said. Minerals, oil and farming make up much of Indonesia’s $1 trillion-plus GDP today. “Labor-intensive” industry players find Indonesia too expensive now, Rizal said, explaining why that sub-sector makes up just 2% of the country’s total investment.
Foreign manufacturers of garments, shoes and textiles normally pick other low-cost Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, over the past decade because of stiff pro-labor laws, economists say. Foreign investment eventually raises the living standards, as witnessed in China and eventually Vietnam.
“It’s probably something that will be a long-term benefit, if this does go through,” said Rajiv Biswas, senior regional economist with IHS Markit, a London-based analysis firm.
“It creates a better environment for foreign multinationals to hire, because from the perspective of foreign multinationals, it’s very restrictive labor laws there,” Biswas said. “They’re worried about hiring because it’s very hard to reduce the workforce later on.”
Foreign investors will consider the law a “step in the right” direction for making Indonesia friendlier, forecast Song Seng Wun, an economist in the private banking unit of Malaysian bank CIMB.
“This Omnibus Bill is part of something that Jokowi [was] looking to see how they can help sort of improve the investment landscape to make it a little bit more attractive in Indonesia, just to make sure Indonesia doesn’t get pushed down the investible list of countries,” Song said, using the Indonesian president’s nickname.
But the law sparked staunch opposition. Some governors have asked Widodo to revoke the law and other people protested in the streets over three days, sometimes violently, Borsuk’s study says.
The law effectively eliminates the power of labor unions, said Paramita Supamijoto, an international relations lecturer at Bina Nusantara University in greater Jakarta.
The October bill would roll back legal support for fair wages, safe working conditions and excessive overtime, U.S.-headquartered human rights advocacy group Amnesty International said in a statement in August. It called the bill’s preparation process “opaque.”
Severance pay for laid-off workers will also slip, Damuri said.
For workers, the law means that “whatever you do, your life will be determined by your employers,” Supamijoto said.
But the law could stoke enough investment to stop people from migrating overseas in search of work, she said. “Under our current president’s administration, they prefer to invite the investors rather than sending workers abroad, so it’s better to invite you to come here to spend money, to invest your money, then to help us to build the infrastructure,” she said.
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