COVID-19 Weekly Update from Gov. Eric J. Holcomb

Governor Holcomb provides updates in the fight against COVID-19

Governor Holcomb provides updates in the fight against COVID-19

Posted by Governor Eric Holcomb on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Governor opened today talking about the continued rise of positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across Indiana. The increased concerns is based on several data points:

  • Indiana reported 181 deaths in the past week compared to 97 just two weeks ago
  • There are 1484 Hoosiers in the hospital with COVID right now, the most since May 6th.  Of those, 421 are in ICU, the most since May 20th.
  • Using the “color coded map” where blue is low community spread, yellow is moderate, orange is moderate to high, and red is high, two weeks ago there were 39 blue counties, 44 yellow, 8 orange, and 1 red. Today there are only 8 blue counties, 44 yellow, 36 orange and 4 red.
  • The 7-day positivity rate, which runs a week behind, has risen for 24 days to 6.9%, the highest since May 31st. Among 1st time patients, the rate is 12.7%, the highest since May 8th.

Because we are also seeing increased cases and deaths in long-term care facilities (LTCF’s) where approximately 50% of the state’s deaths have occurred, today’s briefing spent considerable time discussing LTCF’s and steps the state is taking to try to provide relief for LTCF staff, slow the spread, improve infection control procedures and improve the situation for residents, staff, and their families. These actions include:

  • Extra staffing support with IN National Guard members deployed to assist with testing, reporting results, screening employees, and conducting training – this will allow LTCF staff to focus on patient care. Also using the healthcare reserve workforce for clinical staff support. 
  • Providing more PPE including 2M masks (N95) and 400,000 face shields
  • Reinforcing infection control protocols and implementing recently developed CDC guidelines
  • Piloting a program through FSSA to allow patients to go directly from a hospital to a patient’s home for recovery and therapy vs. having to do that in a LTCF

Dr. Weaver, Chief Medical Officer for IN Dept. of Health, encouraged Hoosiers to reach out to family and friends in health care. The public thanks and acknowledgement of their hard work in the Spring was a tremendous boost to morale. Since then they have continued to “run a marathon at a sprint pace” for 6+ months” and they could “use another cheer.” As SW IN hospitals and LTCF’s continue to see admission numbers than at any time in the past, please consider how you and/or your business can provide support to those front line workers.

As most all of SW Indiana is in Orange or Red, please consider how you, your business, your colleagues, and your family and friends can take action to reduce the spread. Here, as a reminder, are the tactics shared during last week’s call.

  • 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) – currently Posey County – 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

The IN Dept. of Health submitted their COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Plan to the CDC on October 16th. Dr. Weaver noted that it may be early 2021 before we have a vaccine to distribute and at that time it will likely be a small number limited to those at highest risk and those who work in LTCF’s.  

New Information and Updates:

  • Since last Wednesday, the state has reported 13,127 new positive cases (152,396 total), 181 new deaths (3,790 total), 70,049 new individuals tested (1,581,109 total), and 179,234 new tests administered (2,574,800 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 233 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 14th, the positivity rate for unique individuals is 9.6% since the beginning of testing and is 12.7% for the 7 day rate ending 10/14. The positivity rate for ALL tests administered  (comparative measure to most other states) is 5.8% from the beginning of testing and 6.9% for the 7-day rate ending on 10/14.
  • 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 10/18, SW IN counties are all orange (moderate to high community spread) except Posey, which is red (high community spread) and 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 10/14 are: Gibson 8.1%, Posey 12.2%, Vanderburgh 7.4%, Warrick 7.6%, and Spencer 5.7%.  You can find the county-level information by choosing the “Positivity” tab above the map of Indiana on the state dashboard.
  • There are nearly 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: