Gov. Holcomb extends public health orders, looks forward to March Madness

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INDIANAPOLIS––”We are trending in the right direction … but this is not a mission accomplished moment,” Governor Eric Holcomb said during Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing. “From where we were a month ago to where we are today is remarkable.”

Holcomb continued to tout the state’s progress in positivity and hospitalizations, but said the world will be watching Indiana as we head into March Madness.

He announced the extension of the color-coded county restrictions and current public health emergency executive order for another month as March Madness approaches. 

The state’s 7-day all-test positivity rate of 4.1%, with a cumulative rate of 10% positive. As of the February 22 update, the ISDH County Metric map shows 39 Blue, 50 in Yellow and 3 in Orange.

This week, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced this week that Hoosier eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine expanded to those aged 60 years and over.

As of Wednesday, ISDH said 920,930 Hoosiers have received a first dose of vaccine, and 482,564 are fully vaccinated.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Box and ISDH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver reported that Indian could be seeing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine very soon––potentially next week, if approved. 

Dr. Weaver shared a graphic on Indiana’s vaccination rates:

Dr. Box said clinics have been “amazing partners” in the vaccination effort so far, but they all need to follow the eligibility guidelines established by the state.

Recently, some clinics have been holding events outside of the state’s guidelines and vaccinating people outside of the eligibility range. Dr. Box said doses will be withheld from clinics that have violated the state’s vaccination guidelines. 

She said Indiana wants to provide “ethical and equitable access to the vaccine across all 92 counties. We can not achieve that goal if sites deviate from those guidelines.”

Dr. Weaver added that Indiana will no longer be providing vaccines to people who do not live in Indiana. She said be prepared to show documentation proving you live in Indiana when you show up to your appointment.

According to Dr. Box, the virus continues to mutate, and the UK variant is present in Indiana. As always, she implored Hoosiers to continue to wear masks, socially distance and get tested.

Dr. Box cited another week of significant improvement in positivity, and said hospitalizations are at 100 daily average admissions, when they were at 500 in late November and early December. 

ISDH reported 1,019 more positive coronavirus cases and announced 14 additional confirmed COVID-19 deaths Wednesday.

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