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The governor has activated the Indiana National Guard. Here's what that means.

Virus Outbreak Indiana
Posted at 8:14 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 16:41:39-04

UPDATE:
On Saturday, Gov. Holcomb and the Indiana National Guard released a video on YouTube talking more about how the state is responding to the pandemic.

The video also shows Guardsman working at Stout Field in Indianapolis.

You can watch the video below:

UPDATE:
The Indiana National guard on Thursday issued a statement about their role since being activated by Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday. The national guard is supporting the state's emergency operations center along with providing personnel to the Indiana State Department of Health for response planning. Guardsman with specific skill sets could work in fields such as medical, logistical or communications.

"We stand ready to support our community in every way necessary during emergency responses like this," Brig. Gen. R. Dale Lyles, the adjutant general for the Indiana National Guard, said in a statement. "Our troops are trained to support local agencies and aid in easing Hoosiers' minds dureing their time of need."

Original Story:

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday announced that he has activated the Indiana National Guard as part of the state's response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement was part of an executive order signed by the governor on Monday and was announced on the same day state health officials announced the second death in Indiana related to the novel coronavirus.

According to the governor's executive order, the Indiana National Guard is "activated and placed on state duty, as needed, to address and assist in this public health emergency."

The order didn't specify what the national guard would be used for, so RTV6 reached out to the governor's office for clarification.

"At this time, the Indiana National Guard is involved in planning, preparation and logistics with other state agencies," Rachel Hoffmeyer, the governor's press secretary, wrote in an emailed response to RTV6. "An example of a potential future action could be assisting in distributing the hospital supplies the state receives."

Indiana law allows the governor to call the national guard on state duty for seven reasons — war, invasion, insurrection, public disaster, breach of the peace or imminent danger of breach of the peace, forcible obstruction of the execution of the law or reasonable belief that the execution of the laws will be obstructed, and at any other time the governor considers necessary.

In addition to activating the national guard, the governor's executive order also outlines additional steps to help slow the spread of the virus.

The executive order outlines the following:

  • Statutory deadlines for a governing body to meet are suspended for the duration of the public health emergency so long as it doesn't disrupt essential government decisions or services or when meetings are otherwise required by federal law.
  • Governing bodies of public agencies may meet with only one member required to be physically present with other members to meet electronically.
  • Governing bodies may post notices and agencies for meeting solely by electronic means.
  • Hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers are directed to cancel or postpone elective and non-urgent surgical procedures to enable the healthcare system to conserve resources and personnel to meet the emerging health needs.
  • The commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health shall "make determinations as to quarantine, isolation and other necessary public health interventions as permitted under Indiana law."
  • The executive director and the commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health are authorized to order the evacuation of persons from "any area where their continued presence would present a danger to their health, safety or welfare," and utilize all property, equipment, and facilities owned, rented or operated by the state to house and/or shelter persons who may need to be evacuated from a residence, dwelling, building, structure or vehicle during the course of this emergency.