INDIANAPOLIS — Positivity rates are inching toward that 10% threshold before leaders begin to reassess restrictions.
Indiana is not alone in a surge that about 40 states are experiencing right now. Experts are crediting this increase to pandemic fatigue, and people spreading the virus at gatherings. But the biggest takeaway is COVID is everywhere at this point, and there’s no way around it.
“Indiana is definitely in its second wave, there’s no doubt about that,” said Regenstrief Institute Director of Public Health Informatics Dr. Brian Dixon.
It’s the same fight, but a new season that could potentially be worse than the start of the pandemic.
“Especially it’s happening at a time where the weather is becoming colder and people are being forced to move into indoor settings,” said IU Methodist Medical Director of Infection Prevention Dr. Lana Dbeibo.
Cases have been on the rise since September. Saturday, we hit 5,007 new cases, the highest since the start of the pandemic. And the all-test positivity rate is just shy of 10%, the threshold for restrictions.
“Every time we follow guidelines per CDC, we actually see a drop in the number of cases. And every time we don’t follow that guidance, we see an uptick in the number of cases,” said Dr. Dbeibo.
After that uptick, health officials say there’s also an increase in hospitalizations and death rates.
“If we don’t act soon, we are going to one face a shortage of health-care resources,” said Dr. Dixon.
Hospitals in the state are already seeing a rise in COVID patients admitted to Intensive Care Units.
Dr. Dixon says he is concerned that if things keep trending up, hospitals will need more options fast.
“We’ll either have to create more bed space, set up temporary hospitals, we will have to temporarily start cutting back on elective procedures and other procedures in hospitals that will require those same beds,” said Dixon.
Both Dixon and Dbeibo stress Indiana is lagging when it comes to the amount of testing done per 100,000 residents. They both suggest more testing for everyone, not just when you’ve been exposed or experience symptoms.
“The sooner we can get this under control, the better we can protect our community and prevent hospitalizations and death from COVID. So, we really need to be acting on this fast,” said Dr. Dbeibo.
Experts are urging Hoosiers to wear a mask, limit gatherings, remain socially distant and get tested regardless.
For those planning Thanksgiving, with the increase in cases, gatherings should be limited to no more than one household at a table.