Indianapolis News and HeadlinesIndiana Coronavirus News


First case to vaccines: A timeline of COVID-19 in Indiana

Posted at 4:33 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 16:33:33-05

INDIANAPOLIS – From the first COVID-19 case announced in early March, to the latest this week from Gov. Holcomb, the pandemic has been part of our lives for nine months.

March 6 – First case of coronavirus confirmed in Indiana

On the morning of March 6, Holcomb said an adult man who had recently traveled to Boston for an event tested positive for the virus. At the time, Marion County Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine asked people to be “patriotic” and practice good hygiene by washing their hands.

March 12 – First COVID-19-related death in Indiana

The first COVID-19 death in Indiana was Roberta Shelton, a Marion County resident in her 60s. Shelton advocated for the families of Abby Williams and Libby German, the Delphi girls killed in 2017. Roberta hosted a concert and other awareness efforts to support the families and find the killer.

"To those of you who think we may be overreacting, I can assure you that we are not," Holcomb said on March 12. "If you're above age 60, if you have diabetes, cancer, heart condition, lung condition or hypertension, I urge you to self-quarantine for the next several days to several weeks."

March 12 – Big Ten cancels remainder of men’s basketball tournament

In the biggest COVID-19 cancelation thus far, the Big Ten went from playing its games without fans, to canceling the games entirely.

Two games were played on the day before the announcement.

March 23 – Gov. Holcomb orders state shutdown

About two weeks after the first case in Indiana was announced, Holcomb ordered Hoosiers to stay home as the state and country continue to try and fight the spread of COVID-19.

At the time of the shutdown, there were 259 cases and seven deaths reported in Indiana. The stay-at-home order was supposed to last until April 6, but the state still hasn’t fully reopened.

May 1 – State announces plans for full reopening

After about a month of the stay-at-home order, Holcomb announced plans for a five-stage reopening. Stage One was the stay-at-home order in effect, while Stage Five was full reopening for all events, gatherings and businesses.

July 22 – Mask mandate begins in Indiana

After a lot of public pressure, Holcomb announced a mask mandate for the state. The mandate applied to adults and children over age 8.

Holcomb addressed the criticism over the mandate, saying the state is trying to appeal to the civic duty of its residents.

The mask mandate is still in effect as of Dec. 31.

Aug. 23 – Indianapolis 500 held without fans

The 2020 Indianapolis 500 was held without fans for the first time in its 109-year history.

Running the race without fans prevented the seventh cancellation in Indy 500 history. The race was not held in 1917-18 during World War I, and from 1942-45 during World War II.

In late March, IMS leaders rescheduled the race from May 24 to Aug. 23. Officials said on June 26 that Indy 500 attendance would be limited to no more than 50%. That number was further decreased on July 22 when plans were scaled back to host the race at 25% capacity.

Sept. 23 – State announces move to Stage Five

About two-and-a-half months after it was initially scheduled, the state moved to its final stage on Sept. 26.

All the size limitations in gatherings were lifted, a move Holcomb ended up moving back from a few months later.

Dec. 9 – Indiana institutes new limits for gatherings

Saying Indiana is “on fire” Holcomb announced limits on gatherings in Indiana counties based on its COVID-19 metrics, which could be blue, yellow, orange or red.

As of Dec. 31, only one county is yellow – the rest are orange or red.

Dec. 14 – First COVID-19 vaccine administered in Indiana

Marking the “beginning of the end” of the pandemic as Holcomb said, the first COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in Fort Wayne.

The vaccine requires two doses administered a minimum of 21 to 28 days apart.

Indiana has prioritized the first doses for frontline healthcare workers who provide direct patient care and long-term care residents and staff who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic.