Gov. Addresses State on COVID-19 Updates & Reinstates Some Regulations
On September 26, Indiana’s 7-day positivity rate was 3.9% with 15,000 Hoosiers being tested a day. Hospitals, ICU beds, and ventilators were in a good space, but now “we have let our guards down,” according to Governor Holcomb. Indiana continues to increase testing, solidify PPE supplies, and contact tracing.
The Governor provided a few examples of why we need to take action including the following: hospitalizations are at an all-time high; some hospitals have reported that their patient numbers will double in the next several weeks; there are more than 210 new patients a day; our 7-day positive rate is at 10.3%; and healthcare officials are experiencing shortages.
“This weekend, there will be no more Stage 5,” said Governor Holcomb. He praised the fact that reports of vaccines and medications are coming out this week.
In September, Indiana introduced the metric maps to help counties and local communities take actions to slow the spread, but now we are amid a second surge. Beginning November 15th, Governor Holcomb will implement executive orders for counties and Hoosiers to follow. “We are taking these steps again to reduce the number of those infected…and provide some type of relief to our healthcare staff.”
Governor Holcomb reminded us that face coverings are required, don’t go to work/locations if you are sick or symptomatic, and continue to maintain social distancing inside and outside.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission will continue to check businesses for occupancy, social distancing, face coverings, and other executive order requirements. Governor Holcomb mentioned the state will make $20M available to local government to meet these requirements.
Dr. Box mentioned that many hospitals are using divergence methods to help patients. In a few cases, hospitals have turned EMS trucks into beds until one becomes available in the hospital.
The ISDH is hearing about employers mandating employees with symptoms to come to work, and parents are not testing their children in fear of having to quarantine the entire family. Dr. Box said, “The surge will continue for a number of weeks, but our actions can change this course.”
If your county is in orange, social gatherings are limited to 50 people. Capacity in common areas should be reduced; K-12 extracurricular events are limited to 25% capacity, and all participants are required to wear their face coverings.
If your county is in red, social gatherings are limited to 25 people. Vulnerable populations should remain isolated and all holiday gatherings should be cancelled. Local officials may consider limiting the hours of operation of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. K-12 extracurricular activities will only include IHSAA individuals, the players, and parents. Hospitals and senior living center can impose visitation requirements.
Dr. Box will have specific holiday guidance available next week.
Dr. Weaver discussed the state receiving the first vaccine from Pfizer, which may be here by the end of the year. The State will not start immunizing until they receive approval from the EAU. Currently, there are 5 hospitals that have been recognized as holding the vaccine in their facility once it is sent to Indiana.
“The strain on our hospitals are real. Last night, I worked a regular shift in the ER and treated more COVID-19 patients than I have seen all year,” mentioned Dr. Weaver.
Thank you to Chamber member and partner, RJL Solutions for this content.