Mar 26, 2020
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb Coronavirus Briefing March 26
Dr. Box: (00:00)
Our resources and minimize the impact of COVID-19 in Indiana. Thank you.
Eric Holcomb: (00:10)
Thank you Dr. Box. I hope every day going forward, that those numbers that she updates us with when it jumps by three to 17, in terms of deaths, I hope we’re not becoming numb to those updates. And I hope it’s more of a reminder that this isn’t just a marathon, this is a triathlon. This is something that will require us to not ease up, especially in this critical time, we need to do more, not less.
Eric Holcomb: (00:55)
And speaking of more on the economic front, we’ve got this balance of what is here now to help Hoosiers from a household perspective, or from an employee or an employer perspective, and then we’ve got what’s on its way. And so first, Commissioner Payne, if you’d like to give us a report on some of the more recent developments so the Hoosiers can rest assured that we’re going to be able to respond to them right now.
Commissioner Fred Payne: (01:32)
Fred Payne, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. We started off pretty strong in Indiana from an employment standpoint. As many of you probably know, we have a 3.1% unemployment rate in Indiana. January also showed us something that we hadn’t seen before. We have the highest number of people working in Indiana than ever before. We had about 23,000 unemployment claims filed for the month, but we know our current situation is just a little bit different. For the week ending March 21st we had 62,777 new unemployment insurance claims filed. Compare that to the prior week, where we had 3,400 filed. In March 2009, we had 157,000 claims filed for the month. That was the highest ever at that time. So we see that things have changed a little, a little bit over the past few weeks. So now let’s talk a little bit about what relief is coming and who’s covered, who’s filing those claims and what they should expect. As we announced earlier in the week, the governor has given us broad flexibility to ensure that as many Hoosiers who are out of work due to COVID-19 are covered. He’s also waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits. That’s what’s coming down the pipe of what we have in place now from a state perspective. But our federal partners have passed some additional legislation that will help Hoosiers out as well. The types of people and the types of jobs or businesses that will be covered now, with new legislation, will be independent contractors, those who are self employed and those individuals who may have a limited work history. There are other add-ons from our federal partners as well. There’s a 13 week extension to the unemployment benefits expiration day. Currently we have 26 weeks, the feds are adding an additional 13 weeks. They’re adding a $600 per week emergency benefits increase for a four month period, and they are reimbursing a funding for not-for-profits government entities and Indian tribes for the costs they incur are for unemployment benefits, and contributing to funding for that one week waiting period. And they’ll also contribute funding for employee flexibility so that we can hire a move employee so that we can accommodate for this increase in unemployment claims.
Commissioner Fred Payne: (04:43)
So what should you expect? What should the public expect? Well, because we have, we know that we have so many claims and we’re going to have so many questions, we want to direct people to our website because our website can answer many of the questions there before calling in. If, after looking at the website and the frequently asked questions, which we try to update pretty rapidly as changes occur, or the handbook or the tutorial, if those things don’t answer your questions, feel free to call.
Commissioner Fred Payne: (05:18)
But I want to ensure you that we will get to every call, but we do have some call delays because of the taxing that’s being put on our system to make sure that we get back to people quickly. So payment for processing claims is about, processing claim time is about 21 days, and we must update our IT systems to accommodate for all of these changes. Thank you.
Eric Holcomb: (05:51)
Thank you Fred. And then I’ll ask the OMB Director to talk a little bit about all that’s happened in the last 24, 48, 72 hours on the federal front, and the positive impact that’s going to make, obviously it’s going to the house now, that Phase 3 $2 trillion package. But as we’re digging into this, as I mentioned to you yesterday, the $1.2 billion minimum to the states and localities, that’s going to have a tremendous effect on our ability to build that bridge to our recovery.
Eric Holcomb: (06:35)
I just got off the phone with other governors and the President of United States and the Vice President of the United States, and to quote the President, he said to every governor that, “You will be in command of this.” We’ve been asking for flexibility to be able to address our specific needs and the various states and different circumstances. So I appreciate our federal partners not only hearing us, but acting on that. Chris, you want to give us an update?
Chris Johnston: (07:15)
Good afternoon. My name is Chris Johnston and I’m the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Up to this time, we have generally had positive news regarding tax revenue collections for each month of the fiscal year. In fact, the good news started when we closed last year in June of 2019, when the last three months exceeded the most recent forecast from just a couple of months before. We closed the year with $2.3 billion in reserves. Through February, revenues had exceeded an upwardly revised forecast by another $100 million. Needless to say, challenges lie ahead.
Chris Johnston: (07:55)
Those revenues, or excuse me, those reserves have begun to be utilized and will play, continue to play an important part as we take the necessary steps to confront this public health emergency. To get a little technical, I want to talk a little bit about what’s going to happen in the next couple of months. So, revenues are generally received and reported in the second half of each month. So collections in the current month of March reflect activity though that occurred in the prior month, in the month of February. So the March revenues that will be reported in the next 10 days or so, will reflect February’s economic activity, and not what we all know is happening and what we are witnessing today.
Chris Johnston: (08:46)
Because of that, I do not want to create a false sense of optimism for this month for what we will need to manage through. There will be some signs of the effect on the economy in this month’s revenues. One example is gaming revenues. Those revenues have a little different remittance period that overlaps both February and March, and as we all know, the casinos were closed on March 16th and so there’ll be one week of wagering tax that is not remitted in the month of March. But April will really be our first significant signal of things to come.
Chris Johnston: (09:29)
Some things we know, other things we do not. Things that we do know are some of the things that the governor had mentioned last week. We previously announced that income tax payments of filings due on April 15th will be deferred until July 15th. This alignment with the federal government provides much needed short-term relief for individuals and small businesses. However, this timing difference will put a strain on our state’s resources. This June 30th will not be like the last. April is our largest collection month. It’s estimated at $2.2 Billion for all tax types, and it’s also the largest income tax month. So that deferral will make a significant dent in those revenues, 40% to 50% that won’t be collected until July.
Chris Johnston: (10:26)
We also know that there will be an impact from other tax types. This is one of those things that we don’t know. What we don’t know is the severity. Sales tax is the largest contributor to pay for our necessary services, the human and social services that are so desperately needed today. And to address the demand which will increase in the coming months, there’s education as well as public safety. That critical resource, which is being impacted now from reduced economic activity, will be reflected in the April collections. So it’s difficult to put a-
Chris Johnston: (11:03)
Did in the April collections, so it’s difficult to put a number on what the total impact would be because not only do we have the deferral, but we will be seeing the economic, or the results in collections from this downturn in economic activity in the month of April. We will be using our reserves to maintain our priority services and those required by this public emergency. Some of those include fronting payments for PP&E, the personal protective equipment, helping front some of the costs until reimbursement on UI staffing and resources. There are also programs that currently exist in state government that we could activate and elevate, such as Community Partners at the department of child services. These are programs which we help connect people to food, utility bills, transportation, help them link with public assistance such as SNAP, and TANIF, and housing assistance. As the governor mentioned yesterday, the Senate, US Senate, adopted a $2 trillion package to assist the states and local governments, as well as small business, and directly to individuals. There is a myriad of federal programs involved in that. Medicaid changes in the funding mix between the federal government and state government, TANIF. We will be working to use those funds judiciously to address the immediate needs. Each program, as much as there may be some block grants that allow discretion to the states, many of the programs will have guidelines such as state sharing and ongoing commitments which must be evaluated. Now, for those that remember the Recovery Act of 2009, which was only half, it wasn’t even $1 trillion. This will be a complex undertaking for all states to deliver, and we’ll have to work with our federal partners to get that moving as quickly as possible.
Chris Johnston: (13:02)
Internally, we have started working with agencies to find savings in our current operations. What once was a nice to have are being looked at as can they be stopped or delayed so we can deliver on the must haves. We’re conducting revenue modeling. In conjunction with the legislature, we may consider when it might be time to do a revised revenue forecast when more data is available. The official forecast that comes out in April and December, but we may do one on an interim basis.
Chris Johnston: (13:34)
Finally, we talked last time I was here about the property tax penalty waivers, and the Indiana Bond Bank along with other state agencies continue to work and develop a program to assist local units of government that might have a potential impact from those waivers. Finally, I’ll just say from the financial aspect of things in this time of uncertainty, we’re going to do what we always do and that is make the best decisions we can with the information that we have.
Eric Holcomb: (14:14)
Thank you Chris. As I mentioned at the outset, we’ll have more updates tomorrow, but you probably aware that we had a few today. One from the federal front that hasn’t been mentioned very often is the, also being discussed right now, is pushing back that date for the Real ID to get your ID, to get your license updated gets pushed back to September of 2021. Actually Indiana, we were ahead of the curve and outperforming a lot of other states in getting those updates. We can get you the exact percentage of where we were. Now, that’s been pushed back, so the public needs to know that you’re not going to run out of time at the end of this year. Also, you saw the greatest spectacle in racing has reset its start date to, I don’t want to jinx the weather, but to a beautiful day in August on the 23rd. They’ll be hosting a double header on July 4th, the Grand Prix and NASCAR. Somewhat historic, so we’re looking forward to that. Obviously, our Indiana state fair, it bumps right up to that. This just speaks to, while the streets or the gymnasiums of Indiana may be quiet right now, they’re going to be roaring come later this year. We’ll be ready for it. We’ll go from not a lot to do to a lot to do and having a lot of options.
Eric Holcomb: (15:52)
I hope you continue to be as inspired as I am on a daily basis to read the stories that you’ve all covered from border to border, from Lake Michigan to the Ohio river. It is simply amazing to see the heart of Hoosiers, who are hunkered down right now, not slowing down to meet the needs of their neighbors. For as much as government is doing and trying to do more, it’s individuals that are standing in the gap and making these connections. When you learn about in Crown Point on the town square there, city square, putting positive messages in every business window, whether they’re open or not, it just underscores our appreciation for the folks who are playing by the rules and focused on what we need to be doing right now. We don’t want to be, and we’re not, anywhere in the state of Indiana late to mitigate this spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Cities like Crown Point are the best example of what needs to be occurring as we all come together. You talk about all the nursing homes all over the state of Indiana. Dr. Box mentioned one, you talk about like countless other nursing homes who have really adjusted the way they’re keeping their clients connected with their families through Skyping, and through Facebook, or through window visits. Obviously, nothing can replace a hug, but this needn’t disconnect us from those who we love and nursing homes all over the place, there’s some down in Clark County who are serving as a real role model.
Eric Holcomb: (18:08)
And then, the food delivery that we’re seeing crop up all over the state of Indiana. One in Mount Vernon who is workers in an IGA. The one that really got to me was Larry Williams who said he felt a tug on his pocket and I was just for sure that he was going to talk about the financial strain, and he said he turned around to see what that tug was and it was three little girls. One was pulling on his pocket just to thank him for making the lunches. This grocery store is still an operation, but they’re making lunches, 30, 40, 50 lunches for school kids every single day, in addition to being open and stocking their shelves. And so, this is what we see on a continued basis from Crown Point in Mount Vernon and every place in between.
Eric Holcomb: (19:02)
I share these just to underscore and hopefully these acts of kindness and goodness are as more infectious as COVID-19. Any questions?
Governor, with [crosstalk 00:19:18].
Eric Holcomb: (19:16)
It’s like a game show right here, Nikki and Abdul. Okay.
With the issue of our revenue, and Chris maybe you could speak to this as well, one of the things that was a big deal in the legislature this session was the increase in school funding and money going to schools. Is that off the table as we go forward? Is it on the table? What happens with money’s that schools might be expecting this year, seeing where we are financially?
Chris Johnston: (19:44)
We plan to continue the existing appropriations and funding for schools as was adopted in the budget through the rest of this biennium. Obviously, we’ll be constructing a budget in 2021. And so, we’ll see how our revenues look over the course of the next several months as we start planning that budget and working with the legislature next year.
Speaker 1: (20:08)
Governor, you’re a stay at home order has been getting some criticism from people who point out that the exemptions are massive. I mean, liquor stores, and realtors, and landscapers can all be going to work. Can you talk to me about whether you think it’s having an impact given how wide the exemptions are?
Eric Holcomb: (20:29)
Yes. I can, and it’s having a tremendous positive impact on changing the behavior. I do understand questioning of some of the exemptions. However, when you talk about these outdoor jobs, we have still asked for, whether it’s a landscaping company or a golf course, we have asked these businesses to, if they’re in the great outdoors and wide open, to continue their work, if they can practice social distancing, if they can change their business model so that they’re not working on top of each other, so that if you’re out at a golf course, you’re not four people in a golf cart. If you want to walk 18 holes, God bless you, get some exercise. This is not encouragement to break the rules. If you want to see the proof in the pudding, go outside and look at the change in the traffic patterns. It’s all in an effort to get through this so that 100% can go back to work, not just the essential companies or the businesses that can conduct their business in a responsible manner. So yes, it’s having an effect. Look, this is day two.
Eric Holcomb: (22:01)
Look, this is day two. And when you have a day, like yesterday that was 60 plus degrees out, beautiful day and sometimes we see three or four seasons in one day in the state of Indiana. Yesterday, was a great day to be outdoors and I encourage people to get out and walk their dog or get out and walk their cat if they want. But, that was the whole purpose of this order is to, let’s comply and we’ll get through this faster, but it is having a positive effect. There’s no doubt in my mind. Yes sir?
Speaker 2: (22:41)
Governor, you mentioned that pushing back the Indianapolis 500, I think a lot of people are bowled over about that. What’s your reaction to that and-
Eric Holcomb: (22:52)
Pushing back? I’m sorry I didn’t hear.
Speaker 2: (22:54)
Pushing back the Indianapolis 500.
Eric Holcomb: (22:56)
Speaker 2: (22:56)
I mean, if there’s only one other tradition that’s probably greater than that race, to push it back to August, what’s your reaction to that and was it the right decision?
Eric Holcomb: (23:07)
Well, I’m not going to second guess Mr. Penske, or the IMS. And I think, it’s not just a race on Memorial Day, there’s a whole long lead up to that race and I, 110%, support the decision to postpone it. I’m just tickled that we’re still going to have it, and we will have it. And, we’ll welcome the world back to the State of Indiana at that time.
Governor, I have a couple of questions related to the budget.
Eric Holcomb: (23:49)
The first being, how much of the reserve has been spent?
Eric Holcomb: (23:56)
Or devoted to? You might want to talk about what’s been devoted in the tax cuts. About a billion that we’ve got.
Chris Johnston: (24:03)
Well, we’ve got some initial expenditure in aid. I don’t have an exact number because we’re at the front end of making a lot of these expenditures, primarily with the requests for the personal protective equipment, and then, gearing up some of the programs as I mentioned. But again, we’re at the front end of that, so not a lot of expenditures to report, but we’re coordinating those. Yes.
Okay. And then, this may not be a top priority right now, but it’s certainly related to the budget, is the 2020 census count. Because that impacts how much federal funding we’re going to get and it certainly has a longterm impact on the state. So, what is being done to make sure we have an accurate count given all these measures that are in place right now?
Chris Johnston: (24:55)
I can’t speak to the exact details of that. I do know, I have been copied on many emails that came out from the U.S Department of Commerce, regarding changes that they’re doing with the census. Our department of administration is our point person handling the State of Indiana census or coordinating with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Chris Johnston: (25:20)
I know that there’s been some changes to it. I can’t speak to the details of it though.
Governor, do you have anything to add to that?
Eric Holcomb: (25:24)
Yep. And we can get you their latest updates, as well, but we’ve turned ours in. So, if you’ve received it, turn it in, be early, even if a change is made by the U.S Department of Commerce. But look, we’re going to be at the front of the line, I’ll tell you that. Yes, sir.
Speaker 3: (25:44)
I have two questions, if I may. One for Dr. Box and one for Superintendent Carter. Superintendent Carter. Can you explain to people who believe everything they see on Facebook, police and the national guard are not out stopping people who are out there during this time and then I have a question for Dr. Box.
Doug Carter: (26:05)
Yes, I appreciate the question very much and we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time talking about this, over the course of the last 24 hours, and we’ll continue to do that as our citizens have questions about what’s happened to them. I had nine directly reported to me yesterday and of those nine have not been able to substantiate any of them yet, and they ranged from, I was stopped and told that I’d be charged $500 or there’d be a fee associated if I continued to be out without some type of a document.
Doug Carter: (26:34)
That is not true. There is no need, in Indiana, anywhere in Indiana, in any city, any county in Indiana where you have to have a document explaining that you’re essential or not. I hope in America we never get to that point. Secondly, if someone does feel like they’ve been targeted, they need to report that, and I would strongly recommend that, that occurs.
Doug Carter: (26:56)
This has been a real issue of concern to so many of our citizens around this great state and we’ll continue to lean into that as much as we can. But I’ve read 20-08 multiple times and I can… very rarely would I speak for this governor, but that would never be his intent, that, that’s what we have to do. I agree with him completely that our communities have seen a significant decrease in movement. It’s working, but there is no need for you to carry a document with you nor can law enforcement officers stop you, simply to say, “What are you doing out here?” That cannot happen in the State of Indiana.
Speaker 3: (27:34)
Were you saying at the beginning that, that did happen, that you heard that from nine people?
Doug Carter: (27:38)
There have been some reports that, that’s happened around Indiana. And every time I hear those, and I’ll continue to get them, they’ll flow to me. I spoke to a farmer down in Jasper today, that I got through one of the state agencies this morning. So, I think it’s important we get on those very, very quickly and I can assure you that’s what we’ll continue to do.
Speaker 3: (27:57)
So you’re talking with law enforcement officers, as well, and letting them to know, we’re not doing that?
Doug Carter: (28:01)
Law enforcement officers, we’re in daily communication with police chiefs, sheriffs, town marshals, elected officials all over Indiana, almost every single day. But this one this morning was a farmer that apparently had been stopped. So, I wanted to reach out to him direct, and I did, and those conversations will continue.
Speaker 3: (28:18)
Thank you, sir.
Doug Carter: (28:19)
Thank you for the question.
Speaker 3: (28:20)
And Dr. Box, can you tell us how we’re doing on beds? Obviously, Indianapolis is kind of an epicenter. I have heard from people, who work in nursing homes or assisted living, that some of their space may be used to take care of patients. Can you explain what’s going on there?
Dr. Box: (28:39)
So, we are doing a lot of what we call surge planning for expectations of having more individuals in the State of Indiana who are sick. Our EM resource, which is that platform that I’ve mentioned multiple times, helps us not just with our personal protective equipment for around the state, but also our bed capacity and ventilator capacity. And what I can tell you is, that those numbers of beds continue to change sometimes going down because they’re being used for individuals that are sick, maybe not even related to COVID-19.
Dr. Box: (29:09)
But more recently, I’ve been seeing them go up, because I think that all across the State of Indiana, our hospital systems have been working very hard to increase their number of ICU beds that are available. So, I’ve actually seen an increase in the number. With regards to longterm care facilities, we know that there will be individuals that need to be released once they’re well enough, from the hospital, back to their longterm care facility. So, we’re working with them to make sure that they have the ability to have a wing or a floor or maybe a facility that’s not very full, that just becomes our individuals who are healing and getting better from COVID-19.
Dr. Box: (29:43)
We also have longterm care acute facilities that we can bring into as part of this where individuals can continue to get oxygen and other things there. So, all of our partners are coming together. I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed and impressed with the way our systems across the state are all working together with longterm care facilities, with residential facilities, with hospital facilities, and also our longterm acute care.
Speaker 4: (30:10)
Governor, we’re hearing that the Trump Administration has sent guidance to governors about how they should relax, eventually relax the stay-at-home orders that have been issued. So, I wanted to know, who exactly are you going to be listening to when it comes time to either adjust or extend those orders?
Eric Holcomb: (30:30)
For the folks who are listening and not watching, I will be listening to doctors, physicians, scientists, law enforcement, the folks that are on the ground in the State of Indiana. And we’ll adjust accordingly. Yes, ma’am?
Speaker 5: (30:51)
He stole my question, so I’ll ask another one. You have said that May 1st is going to be… That schools should be closed through May 1st. At what point do you think you’ll be reevaluating that, since it’s going to take quite a bit to kind of get things up and running again?
Eric Holcomb: (31:10)
Yeah, we’re doing it today, and we’ll do it every day hereafter, especially during this two week period. Again, we’re tracking county by county, community by community, the spread. Just two days into this 14 day period, too soon to make a decision post May 1st yet, but we shall, over the next few weeks.
Speaker 5: (31:37)
Eric Holcomb: (31:39)
Thank you. Yes, sir?
Speaker 6: (31:40)
Commissioner Payne. Can you go up to the microphone, please? Looking through some of the numbers, some of the first-time unemployment claims, I saw Clark County had almost a 10,000% increase, just in the past two weeks. Is that accurate?
Commissioner Fred Payne: (32:05)
I’m not particularly sure about that county because I didn’t look at the data county by county, but I can followup with you on that.
Speaker 6: (32:13)
And you were saying 21 days to go through some and reprogram some of your processes?
Commissioner Fred Payne: (32:20)
No, 21 days is the normal processing time for an unemployment insurance claim.
Speaker 6: (32:25)
So, when somebody goes into file for a claim today, how long should they expect before they actually get that first check?
Commissioner Fred Payne: (32:34)
Yeah, about 21 days.
Speaker 6: (32:35)
About 21 days? Okay.
Commissioner Fred Payne: (32:36)
Speaker 7: (32:45)
Governor Holcomb, I wanted to ask about, Governor Cuomo has asked states that are not quite as far along as New York, to send ventilators, send PPE equipment, saying that they’re in dire straights. How do you balance for these, to build up our own supply-
How do you balance the needs to build up our own supply?
Eric Holcomb: (33:04)
I mean, and he has said in two weeks when they’re doing worse, I’ll get back to them, but I don’t think they’re going to be taking people off ventilators and sending them here.
Eric Holcomb: (33:15)
Yeah. And Governor Cuomo is also, as he should, be pressing his case with the federal government as well.
Eric Holcomb: (33:24)
We’re not in a position right now, as much as we may want to, to be focused outside of our borders, and we realize that there are hotspots in the country; Los Angeles or New York City or Seattle, others are growing.
Eric Holcomb: (33:45)
We saw that New Jersey had about a 60% increase in positive cases in 24 hours, so they are this greater Metro New York area is in need, but right now we’re focused on whose your needs.
Eric Holcomb: (34:05)
And if we get to that happy day where we can start to help the rest of the country recover, we will.
My question is actually for Commissioner Payne as well. I was wondering if we were starting to get any sort of breakdown information on what sort of manufacturers were the most affected by and pined for this unemployment benefits, or are we getting mostly through restaurant servers and waiters?
I was wondering to get any information on that as well as the average benefit that we’re seeing paid out to those employees.
Commissioner Fred Payne: (34:40)
Yeah. So we’re really seeing really the accommodations and restaurant industries being hit, some manufacturing, but because we’re so early into this, we haven’t really processed what the average amount of each claim is, as individuals are coming in with partial work weeks. So, the processing of those claims are a little bit different if they didn’t work at all during a week.
And are we re-evaluating how we calculate the unemployment benefit? I understand that right now it’s kind of based on your weekly pay over the last four quarters.
Are we re-looking at that formula or sticking to the same one?
Commissioner Fred Payne: (35:17)
At the moment, we’re not looking at that. We have the formula in place now, and we want to make sure we’re administering what’s there now.
Eric Holcomb: (35:31)
I didn’t want to sell Hoosiers short because there are many Hoosiers, actually, who, again, on their own are responding to making masks.
Eric Holcomb: (35:42)
They’re downloading, from the internet, the specs to sew masks, and, thankfully, they’re supplying their neighboring hospitals, whether it be in their county or not, but I know that there are some Hoosiers who, in addition to tending to the needs of their neighbors, are also helping out around the country. Appreciate that.
Eric Holcomb: (36:13)
And, also, we can add this to our list for tomorrow’s update to another question that was asked earlier.
Eric Holcomb: (36:24)
There is some thought going into if you live in another state, if you live in Michigan, or if you live in Kentucky, or Ohio, or Illinois, and you’re living under a different executive order … Break it down to its basics.
Eric Holcomb: (36:48)
If we have an essential job that’s tagged essential and it’s not in Michigan, can you travel on the road in Michigan to get to your job in Indiana? And this has some cross-border ramifications to it.
Eric Holcomb: (37:07)
Currently, it is, you are following you, as a where you are a resident, are following the law according to where you live, not to where you work, but this will be a topic of discussion for the National Governor’s Association in our next meeting.
Question for Dr. Botts. Yesterday, Doctor, I believe you indicated you are optimistic that hospitals could double, perhaps, their ICU capacity. I’m wondering if you have a baseline number you’re basing that on?
Do you have a January 1st number, not only where we were with ICUs, or where we are with ventilators, so that we can have a base number to start building from?
And if you got any more accurate information today that you didn’t yesterday from an added 24 hours of reporting.
Dr. Box: (38:01)
Yep. We actually refined the question in the EM Resource very specifically for the hospitals to read: What is your baseline ICU beds? What is your baseline ventilator status? What is your realistic surge capacity, and what is your realistic ventilator status? So, they’re answering those questions for us.
And, so, are we building off of … I don’t know … January 1st numbers? When you say you’re hoping they can double their capacity, I’m wondering what we’re basing that on to determine if six weeks from now, ” Hey, it was a success. We made it.”
Dr. Box: (38:32)
So, originally, when we started with this very, very early on, I mean, we’ve really been working on it since the first case was reported in Wuhan, China, on December the 31st, those numbers were not very accurate in the EM Resource, as you can imagine, because people were probably not reporting on a daily basis as they are now.
Dr. Box: (38:51)
So, those are being refined every single day and increased every single day. My optimism is based hearing the exact plans that, not only has the state is helping to provide, but also the plans that the hospitals have and what they’re going to use.
And when do you think, if this is Thursday afternoon, you may have some hard numbers you can share with us?
Dr. Box: (39:11)
I will never share hard numbers with you because this is information that the hospital systems have put into this, and I am going to respect their privacy with regards to this.
Dr. Box: (39:22)
They can see all of their system as a hospital system. Regions can see their entire region. We, as a state, can see the entire state.
Well, if I’m not asking about a specific hospital, can you give me just a big ballpark number, then? That wouldn’t necessarily be confidential, would it?
Dr. Box: (39:39)
We can certainly look further into that, but I’m really not going to be a numbers person about this because like I say, it changes every single day.
Dr. Box: (39:46)
And as we start to see more people, we may have baseline ICU beds now, but more of them may be taken up as we get more and more COVID-19 patients.
Speaker 8: (40:00)
Once again, thank you for joining us today. We’ll send out a media advisory with details regarding tomorrow’s availability.