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, September 16, 2020

The Governor opened today’s briefing with several pleas for participation and help for several initiatives, including:

  • The 3rd round of the Fairbanks Study begins next week and runs through October 3rd. More than 30,000 Hoosiers have been randomly selected, including some ages 5-12 should be receiving post cards asking them to participate in the testing. If you are selected, please participate as this is a way to get real data on the spread through the state.
  • The American Red Cross needs help here and across the Country as they deal with several natural disasters (wind storms in IA and IL, fires in CA and OR, and hurricanes in LA, AL and FL). If you can help by giving blood or contributing money or time, the need is great – call 1-888-664-1441 or www.redcross.org/volunteer.
  • These same disasters and the pandemic continue to create need for assisting families with food needs. Learn more and provide help at www.OperationFood.IN.gov
  • The last date to complete the 2020 Census is September 30th. Please complete your census and check with your family, friends, and colleagues to ensure they have done the same.  You can complete the census at www.2020census.gov.
  • And, finally, an efficient election day depends on strong poll workers. To work the polls, you need to be a registered voter in the county you are volunteering in. There is a stipend of pay for the day’s work. Contact your County Election Office to learn more or sign up.

Governor Holcomb and Dr. Box spent some time discussing the continued evidence that masks work. He admitted that he doesn’t enjoy wearing one all day either, but he does and encourages everyone else to, too. He believes it’s “better safe than sorry and the more we wear masks the more our local businesses are likely to stay open and flourish.” He added that “the virus hasn’t changed, our behavior has. We are one of the most open states in the country and currently have a very low transmission rate – if anything is slowing the spread, it’s our behavior changes, such as wearing masks.”

Dr. Box discussed the continued climb in positivity reports from teenagers and young adults. In the beginning the majority of cases were in age 50+, now 2/3 are under the age of 50 with 13% under age 19. With 19% of newer cases in high schools, it is obvious that peer-to-peer transmission is occurring and encouraged families to limit gatherings and social outings and help kids keep their “social bubbles” smaller. Kids in younger grades appear to be doing better with this than those in HS and college.

There are now 253 testing sites across the state and this will increase as another 45 of the 90 planned local health department sites come online in the next 2 weeks.

INDOT Commissioner Joe McGinnis announced the traffic volumes have nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels and freight traffic is slightly above what we were seeing pre-COVID in early March. The next round of the Community Crossings matching grant program for local governments to make improvements to existing roads and bridges. Grant applications will be accepted beginning September 25 through October 23rd with grants awarded in November and another round of applications accepted in January 2021.

New Information and Updates:

  • Since last Wednesday’s report, the state has reported 6,342 new positive cases (107,809 total), 74 new deaths (3,247 total), 103,874 new individuals tested (1,261,892 total), and 197,072 new tests administered (1,770,032 total) as some individuals get tested more than once. The state added several new labs into the report this week, creating a large jump in the tests administered. All of this information is on the ISDH dashboard at www.coronavirus.in.gov. There are an additional 225 probable Covid-19 deaths (X-Ray, CT, symptoms & exam consistent w/Covid-19, but no positive test received).
  • The state now shares 2 different positivity rates; both trail by 7 days to allow for a full reporting of tests that lag coming in. As of September 9th, the positivity rate for unique individuals is 8.5% since the beginning of testing and is 6.8% for the 7 day rate ending 9/9. The positivity rate for ALL tests administered  (comparative measure to most other states) is 6.2% from the beginning of testing and 4.7% for the 7-day rate ending on 9/9.
  • Under the new color-coded county metrics that combine new cases per 100,000 people over the last week and the 7-day positivity rates through 9/13, SW IN counties are: all yellow (good, not best) except for Spencer County, which is blue (better than yellow).  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 9/9 are: Gibson 6.1%, Posey 3%, Vanderburgh 3.7%, Warrick 4.7%.  You can find the county-level information by choosing the “Positivity” tab above the map of Indiana on the state dashboard.

Resources & Reminders: