INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is not shutting down.
Gov. Eric Holcomb started his weekly press conference about Indiana’s COVID-19 situation by busting disinformation that’s been circulating around the state, suggesting that Indiana was heading for a severe rollback after Election Day.
Holcomb denied those rumors vehemently.
“There have been a number of rumors floating out there … we’ve seen some language out there that talks about how today we’re shutting the state down. False, 100%,” Holcomb said. “We also saw some information that our schools were going to go 100% virtual as of today. Again, false, 100% not true.”
Holcomb then pivoted to what it true in Indiana — cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still on the rise.
“What’s not a rumor is our cases are going up. And we talk about, as that positivity rate increases, what happens downstream is hospitalization rates go up, unfortunately we see more deaths follow,” Holcomb said. “So we’ve taken again a very localized, personalized, surgical approach to addressing these surges no matter where they are in the state of Indiana.”
The statewide press conference came on the day when Indiana set another all-time high for single-day cases — a weekly occurrence for the last seven weeks — and hospitalizations hit a new all-time high, too. Death counts have been increasing too, although they haven’t hit as high as what they were in April and May.
Although some of the raw numbers are looking similar to spring, Holcomb and Box stressed comparing now to then isn’t a good equivalency, since Indiana is much more well-positioned to defend against COVID-19 now than then, although that’s not an excuse to ignore rampant rises in activity.
“We are not in the same position we were in the spring and we have the capacity to care now,” Holcomb said. “When we lose that capacity to care we’re going to have to become more restrictive. That’s why we’re begging with, pleading with, every Hoosier to do their part.”
Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box focused on health care, stating that continuing rise in serious cases is stressing and straining the health care system and its workers.
“We’re hearing from our hospitals about the strain this is placing on them. The greatest strain right now is on our hospital workforce which is in the ninth month now responding to this pandemic,” Box said.
“What we hear consistently is their biggest challenge is having enough staffing. Some hospitals have already needed to rearrange their elective surgical procedures,” Box added.
Long-term care facilities are also having their staff stretched to the breaking point, but Indiana is in the midst of deploying Indiana National Guard soldiers to every nursing home in the state to assist.
Box closed her comments the same as usual, urging Hoosiers to continue to adopt the “effective and inexpensive” tools that can help reduce spread of the virus.
“What we do 100% know based on multiple lines of evidence and support, social distancing, wearing your mask and careful hand hygiene reduces the spread of COVID-19,” she said.