Gov. Holcomb, state leaders give update on coronavirus pandemic response

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS– Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb provided another update Wednesday on the impact of COVID-19 in our state.

Gov. Holcomb kicked off the briefing by asking Hoosiers to donate to and volunteer with the American Red Cross to help with the ongoing natural disasters in other parts of the country. Click here to learn more.

We are approaching the third round of the Indiana University/Fairbanks Health study. Holcomb said if you’re chosen to participate, please do so because it will be as close to a crystal ball as we’re going to get.”

He also reminded Hoosiers to participate in the 2020 Census by Sept. 30.

Help is also needed at the polls. If you’re able to work on election day, click here to learn more on how to become a poll worker.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said the state is seeing more cases in young people, mostly due to testing at universities. There are also a growing number of cases that have been tied to gatherings of young people. She urged younger Hoosiers to remember they are also at risk.

Box noted an out-of-state lab had a technical issue, which will result in 469 positive tests being removed soon from the ISDH dashboard.

Holcomb warned of the upcoming flu season, and said Indiana will meet that challenge. He reiterated several times throughout the briefing that the data shows masks are having a positive impact on the COVID-19 numbers.

The governor wouldn’t give a preview of the future of the mask mandate, which will need to be addressed at next week’s briefing. However, he did say that he likes the direction we’re heading.

“Masks are working,” he said. “The virus hasn’t changed–we have.”

As for the Big Ten resuming football soon, Holcomb said he’s excited to see them play and is “looking forward to a good Bucket Game” between Indiana University and Purdue University.

Dr. Box was asked about how towns should be approaching Halloween this year amid the pandemic. She said it will be different based on each county’s situation. Areas with low numbers should be able to do trick-or-treating safely. Primarily, she said to make sure kids are washing their hands or using sanitizer.

The state may provide some direction and recommendations about Halloween a little closer to the date.

Tonight, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is expected to address the City-County Council to discuss additional coronavirus relief funding.

Indianapolis Public Schools also announced this week it is giving students the option to return to the classrooms.

IPS will first welcome back pre-K through third grade students on Oct. 5, if they elect to do so. The district will send out a new survey starting Wednesday for parents to decide if they would like their child to return to the classroom or not. 

Starting Oct. 19, pre-K through sixth grade students can opt to return in-person. Seventh through 12th graders will be under a hybrid learning model, which means rotating students out by last name.   

Superintendent Aleesia Johnson felt the timing was right, given Marion County’s lower COVID-19 positivity rate. Johnson believes returning to the classroom would be beneficial to students so they can receive the best education as possible.   

In related news, Indiana University continues to battle the pandemic, the university is gearing up with additional on-campus testing labs.

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