Indy partners with chamber to create a Rapid Response Hub for businesses

Mayor Joe Hogsett.JPG
Posted at 7:57 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 23:11:00-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The city and the Indy Chamber are working together to help get emergency assistance for small businesses.

Mayor Joe Hogsett announced on Wednesday that the city is partnering with the chamber to create a Rapid Response Hub to help business owners get access to resources.

"Through free one-on-one business coaching and access to loan capital, BOI (the Indy Chamber's Business Ownership Initiative) will help small business owners and entrepreneurs navigate the uncertainty this pandemic has caused," Hogsett said.

In speaking with Gov. Eric Holcomb, the mayor said Indianapolis is positioned to receive federal dollars through disaster loan assistance. The city is encouraging small businesses to prepare and gather all documentation now to apply for federal relief.

"To be clear, this effort alone is not nearly enough funding to fully address the emergency needs of our small business community," Hogsett said. "The business losses alone will be in the hundreds of millions not the hundreds of thousands."

As for testing more Hoosiers for COVID-19, RTV6 spoke with Eli Lilly executives over the phone who announced they are partnering with the Indiana State Department of Health to accelerate testing in Indiana.

Officials from Lilly said the company will be using its specialized research labs to analyze samples taken right here in Indiana healthcare facilities, including nursing homes and emergency rooms. So far, only about 200 Hoosiers have been tested for the virus. A company official said the state could reach over 1,000 tests a day within a week with Lilly's help.

The company also plans on piloting drive-thru testing for patients outside of a healthcare facility. It will be entirely free. Company officials said they are not accepting money from the government, hospitals, insurance companies or patients for the testing.

Company officials said the first priority is serving the backlog of people who need to be tested. Additional details will be available in the coming days about where the drive-thru testing site will be located.

Indiana received additional tests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week and again this week, however, they still have limited resources. The state is prioritizing high-risk individuals and healthcare workers for testing now. Those who do not meet that criteria can get tested through a private lab with their healthcare provider.