Gov. Eric Holcomb and state officials announced that in spite of surging COVID-19 cases, the state will remain at Stage 5 in the reopening plan with face masks still required. This will be in place through mid-November, however, Gov. Holcomb says he will revisit this next week.
Today Dr. Kris Box, the state's top health official, announced she has tested positive for COVID-19. Her daughter and grandson have the virus as well. Gov. Holcomb and other state officials will be tested for COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon as a precaution following Box's positive test. Holcomb says he will quarantine until he gets the results of his test. Box says she is asymptomatic so far.
Holcomb says that large gatherings aren't the problem, but rather small gatherings like weddings, funerals, house parties, etc. He says Hoosiers becoming complacent about the virus is the "literal definiation of whistling past the graveyard." He also said that "wearing a mask is a lay up."
He says that the state will be putting more effort toward trying to help counties that are in orange or red on the state's COVID-19 map. As of Wednesday, counties in our area that are now in orange include Elkhart, LaGrange, Kosciusko and Starke. Supports that may be offered to such counties include help with more testing and contact tracing.
State health officials also announced there has been a technical issue with the dashboard and there may be a surge of unreported numbers coming in the future.
Holcomb says he won’t reimpose any COVID-19 restrictions despite all of the state’s “guiding principles” heading in the wrong direction.
Hospitalizations are at levels not seen since May. The average number of new cases has jumped 82 percent since Holcomb rescinded almost all restrictions. The positivity rate has increased 32 percent in that time. And some hospital systems are experiencing staffing shortages.
But Holcomb stresses the need for personal responsibility.
“This ultimately comes down to our personal actions or inactions,” Holcomb said.
“Just like everything else we do around here, we have to look at the root causes," Holcomb said. "And assuming that some blanket response will solve it – that’s being proven inaccurate.”
Holcomb points to similar COVID-19 surges around the country and the world.