As COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, Governor Holcomb again joined the Wednesday briefing (and committed to be back again next Wednesday “or sooner” if needed) to confirm that the mask mandate scheduled to end this Saturday will continue. He also shared that the IN Dept. of Homeland Security, the state Fire Marshall, ATC and Excise officers will be available to assist local governments with “boots on the ground” as needed for increased testing, contact tracing, and education.
The rising numbers have prompted the state to issue new and more clear guidelines for local and state officials to follow based on local community spread.
- Blue Counties (low to moderate community spread) – should keep doing what they’re doing, just don’t let guard down
- Yellow Counties (moderate community spread)
- Begin targeted testing, quarantine and isolation
- Consider restrictions on the size of gatherings and the use common areas in the workplace
- Review plans for face coverings and social distancing for all school extracurricular events and assemblies
- Orange Counties (moderate to high community spread), this covers most all of SW Indiana – ISDH will coordinate with officials to:
- Consider restrictions on the size of gatherings and the use of common areas in the workplace
- Discuss local monitoring of social distancing at all events and venues
- Begin targeted testing, quarantine and isolation
- Consider attendance restrictions at K-12 extracurricular activities and sporting events
- Red Counties (high community spread) – the State Health Commissioner may take action to restrict activities, including:
- Restricting size of social gatherings, large events, business capacity, attendance at extracurricular school events
- Limiting visitation in congregate care, jails and hospitals, and closing senior centers
- Advising vulnerable populations to stay home
- Rescheduling elective hospital procedures
Dr. Box, Director of the IN State Dept. of Health (ISDH), joined the call to share that unfortunately she has tested positive along with her daughter, and her 23 month old grandson have all tested positive. While she has kept her social circle limited to mostly just family, her grandson has continued to go to daycare and appears to have brought it home from there after some caregivers tested positive. She pleaded with Hoosiers to use this example that we must keep our guard up and not believe that it “won’t happen to me.” Her small circle does mean that contact tracing really only impacted her co-workers, including the Governor, ISDH leadership, and the Governor’s staff who are all undergoing testing and quarantining.
Dr. Weaver, the Chief Medical Officer for ISDH, shared the data update including a report that there are currently 1357 Hoosiers hospitalized with COVID and/or symptoms, which is the highest number since May 13th. While hospitals are better equipped than in the beginning of the pandemic several regions of the state, including SW Indiana, are experiencing a critical bed shortage and staffing shortages prompting the state to use the Bowen Center to identify skilled individuals who might be willing to assist.
Throughout the briefing, Governor Holcomb pleaded with Hoosiers to take personal responsibility for doing “the things that we all know are effective” saying “as we go through each and every day, we underscore the fact that our actions and inactions affect healthcare costs, business failures, lives and livelihoods. The bill will come due and we will all pay for it.”
New Information and Updates:
- Since last Wednesday, the state has reported 11,042 new positive cases (139,269 total), 109 new deaths (3,609 total), 70,143 new individuals tested (1,5121,060 total), and 195,334 new tests administered (2,395,566 total) as some individuals get tested more than once. All of this information is on the ISDH dashboard at www.coronavirus.in.gov. There are an additional 227 probable Covid-19 deaths (X-Ray, CT, symptoms & exam consistent w/Covid-19, but no positive test received).
- The state shares 2 different positivity rates; both trail by 7 days to allow for a full reporting of tests that lag coming in. As of October 7th, the positivity rate for unique individuals is 9.2% since the beginning of testing and is 9.6% for the 7 day rate ending 10/7. The positivity rate for ALL tests administered (comparative measure to most other states) is 5.7% from the beginning of testing and 5.3% for the 7-day rate ending on 10/7.
- Under the color-coded county metrics that combine new cases per 100,000 people over the last week and the 7-day positivity rates through 10/11, SW IN counties are all orange (moderate to high community spread) except Spencer, which is yellow (moderate community spread. You can find these metrics and how they are calculated by choosing the “County Metrics” tab above the map of Indiana on the state dashboard.
- The state also publishes county-level 7-day positivity rates for all tests given (not unique individuals). SW Indiana rates as of 10/7 are: Gibson 10.2%, Posey 12.6%, Vanderburgh 7.2%, Warrick 7%, and Spencer 8.1%. You can find the county-level information by choosing the “Positivity” tab above the map of Indiana on the state dashboard.
- There are more than 250 testing sites across the state. You are encouraged to get tested if you have any symptoms or are have had contact with someone who has tested positive.
- There are three specific types of data sets on the state’s coronavirus website; scroll down to the blue bar that says “Indiana COVID-19 Data Report.” From there, you can choose “Dashboard” (general statewide data and county-level maps), “LTC” (data about Long Term Care facilities), or “School” (K-12 school data). Most of the Dashboard data is updated daily while the LTC and School information is updated once each week.
Resources & Reminders:
- All of the Governor’s Executive Orders can be found here. In addition to the language in the EO’s, there is helpful industry-specific information in the Industry Guidelines on the “Back On Track Indiana” webpage.
- YourNextStepIN.org is a one-stop shop for those seeking unemployment insurance, childcare, healthcare, food assistance, career coaching, etc.
- The Unemployment Insurance website has up-to-date information including a regularly updated FAQ; dates for webinars posted here and a listing of thousands of available jobs at www.indianacareerconnect.com with frequently planned virtual job fairs.
- Increased funds are available for individuals seeking training through the Workforce Ready Grant program and for employers using the Employer Training Grant program.
- Small businesses and non-profits can order PPE from the state’s PPE Directory. Anyone able to make or donate PPE can contact: PPEDirectory@iedc.in.gov.
- Indiana 211 stands ready to help for anyone needing counseling, addiction recovery, support for those facing domestic violence or those contemplating suicide. You can call 211 from any phone line or use the website at www.in211.communityos.org
- Blood supplies continue to run dangerously low in many Indiana communities. Anyone interested in donating or scheduling a donation drive can learn more at: donation/collection in communities.
- Those needing assistance paying rent should go to: www.IndianaHousingNow.org. Those falling behind on mortgage payments should go to: www.877GetHope.org.
- Check the Wi-Fi Hotspot Map if you need internet access for work or school.