Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced today that Eli Lilly and Co. will partner with the state's Department of Health to accelerate testing in Indiana for COVID-19.

“This partnership between the Indiana State Department of Health and Eli Lilly and Co. will be transformational in our efforts to accelerate testing for COVID-19,” Holcomb said in a news release. “We are grateful for Lilly’s dedication to the health and safety of Hoosiers as we continue to put all of our focus into slowing the spread.”

Lilly will use its research laboratories to analyze samples taken in Indiana health-care facilities, including nursing homes and emergency rooms, in an effort to increase the state’s ability to conduct testing for COVID-19. As Lilly’s testing capacity expands, Lilly and ISDH will work together to increase testing.

"Lilly is bringing the full force of our scientific and medical expertise to attack the coronavirus pandemic around the world," David A. Ricks, Lilly's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a news release. "For more than 140 years Lilly has played a leading role in solving problems in our Indiana home. Today we are marshaling our people and our assets to confront and defeat the novel coronavirus in our state."

In addition, Lilly is piloting drive through testing that may eventually be able to test patients outside of a health-care facility to avoid spread of the virus. The company hopes to have additional details in the coming days.

Lilly will not accept money from government agencies, hospitals, insurance companies or patients for conducting or analyzing tests. "This is one contribution we can make to help slow the spread of coronavirus in our community, and this testing will be entirely free," Ricks said.

In a continuing effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, Holcomb also announced these efforts:

With more than 512,000 small businesses throughout the state, Gov. Holcomb requested the U.S. Small Business Administration to issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration supporting small businesses affected by the outbreak. The program would provide targeted, low-interest loans up to $2 million to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue. Nonprofits would also be eligible for loan assistance through the program. More information is available at SBA.gov/Disaster.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development will host two live webinars for Hoosiers affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The program will cover unemployment eligibility requirements, frequently asked questions, and how to apply for benefits. The 30-minute live programs will be at 10:30 a.m. on March 24, and at 3 p.m. on March 25. To register, visit: https://on.in.gov/UI2020

The ISDH call center continues to experience high volume. Hoosiers with general questions are encouraged to visit the website in.gov/coronavirus for more information. ISDH has implemented a toll-free 24/7 call center at 877-826-0011 that includes options for health-care providers as well as the public. Call center staff cannot offer medical advice or provide test results.

More information may be found at the ISDH website at in.gov/coronavirus/ and the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Meanwhile, health officials announced 39 positive cases in Indiana as of Wednesday morning.

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