Indiana’s governor signed an order Friday largely lifting restrictions on elective medical procedures beginning this week. The restrictions had been imposed to help preserve equipment and protective gear for hospitals treating coronavirus patients.
The new medical procedure order covers providers such as surgery centers and dental, dermatology and veterinary offices, allowing them to resume those procedures as long as they have sufficient protective equipment and have adopted procedures to protect patients and staff members from COVID-19.
Gov. Eric Holcomb had already removed such restrictions on hospitals under an order that took effect Monday extending the statewide stay-at-home measures through May 1.
Holcomb has talked about easing some of the state’s business and travel restrictions next month.
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Michigan’s governor has extended that state's stay-at-home order through May 15, while the Illinois order now goes until May 30. Both governors have eased some limits on businesses and outdoor activities.
Holcomb said while he is cooperating with nearby governors on what steps to take, Indiana doesn’t have to be in “lockstep” with other states.
“We are looking globally at all of these various sectors. Everyone will not go all at once,” Holcomb said. “I suspect we will begin to continue to open up in a very responsible, safe way.”
Holcomb and Box both warned against anyone acting on President Donald Trump’s comment Thursday that perhaps disinfectants could be injected or ingested to fight COVID-19. His words received strong pushback from health officials and even the maker of Lysol.
Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, who joined Holcomb’s Friday briefing by video from his hometown of Jasper, suggested Trump was caught up in the “exuberance” of people across the country eager to have business and travel restrictions start being lifted.
“Sometimes when you’re not clear with how you say things, especially when you are at a high level where people watch, its best probably not to venture into areas where you may not know a lot about,” Braun said. “Here, I would defer to what the health experts would say.”
Holcomb commented with a smile: “Apply those disinfectants to surfaces, not yourself. They work.”