Gov. Holcomb extends mask mandate for another month; State health commissioner tests positive for coronavirus

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS– Gov. Holcomb announced Wednesday that Indiana will stay in Stage 5 for another month, through at least Nov. 14. The state’s mask mandate will continue through that date as well.

He said we’re at a level of COVID-19 spread we’ve not seen since the spring.

“In less than a month, our positivity rate has moved to under 4% to where it sits today 5.3%,” he said.

He noted Record daily case numbers and hospitalizations are also concerning.

Three weeks ago, Holcomb rolled back most of the state’s restrictions on businesses and crowd sizes. Events with more than 500 people must submit a safety plan to health officials.

Since then, Indiana has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, reporting multiple days with more than 1,500 new daily cases. Hospitalizations are at levels not seen since the end of May, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

Holcomb said Stage 5 is not an excuse for indifference. He said while most Hoosiers are following the guidelines, that’s not the case for everyone.

“We all see Hoosiers with a disregard for the health of fellow citizens,” he said.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box says she, her daughter and grandson tested positive for the coronavirus. She said she’s not experiencing symptoms.

Governor Holcomb and other state officials will get tested this afternoon. He said he’ll quarantine until he gets his results. He thinks he’ll get the results by midday Thursday.

Dr. Lindsay Weaver said she knows we’re all tired of the pandemic and the restrictions, but reiterated several times that this is not over and we’re not trending in the right direction.

She said to make sure we’re doing the things we know work: Practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands and participate in contact tracing.

When asked why the state is staying in Stage 5 with our numbers increasing, Holcomb said, “Every one of these cases is an extremely localized occurrence. For us to continue to balance our lives and our livelihoods…and we don’t want another lockdown…we are proving that folks are operating responsibly at Stage 5. We need more of that and that’s what gets us through this.

He said the approach of shutting things down misses the point.

“It’s not necessarily the size of the event that determines the spread. There are countless examples of people that responsibly hold events. Ultimately it comes down to personal actions, or inactions. Virus spikes always trace back to folks believing it won’t happen to them.”

Holcomb did note that the state health department could step in with additional restrictions for areas that appear in red on the state’s color-coded county map.

In response to Indiana being added to Chicago’s emergency travel order, Holcomb said he’s not spoken with the mayor but believes she’s acting in the best interest of her city.

Editor’s note: The video above was broadcast live and there were several audio issues during the briefing which cannot be corrected.

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