Indiana doctors encourage vaccines, masks as state’s positivity rate tops 9%

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s rising COVID-19 positivity rate is causing concern among doctors.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana’s 7-day positivity rate has topped 9% in the last week. The last time Indiana saw a rate that high was back in January.

State data shows cases and hospitalizations are at their highest levels since February.

The number of new cases in a single day has surpassed 2,000 for the third time within a week, reaching 2,234 cases Tuesday. And COVID-19 hospitalizations stand at more than 1,318 statewide.

We asked the Governor Eric Holcomb’s office if any new mask mandates or other statewide restrictions are being considered. A spokesperson told us the state is not adding any new restrictions at this time, but she did not provide any further information on what state officials are discussing.

Meanwhile, Community Health Network’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have tripled within the past four weeks, according to Dr. Robin Ledyard, chief medical officer.

“We are running very, very full,” Dr. Ledyard said. “Every single day, we are trying to manage those people who are going to be discharged, the surgeries that we have scheduled, those coming in through the emergency department.”

Dr. Ledyard said it’s critical right now for everyone eligible to get vaccinated and wear a mask in public, regardless of vaccination status. Wearing masks in indoor public spaces can make a big impact to slow the spread of the virus, she said.

“You may have very mild symptoms if you are vaccinated, but you still may transmit the virus,” Dr. Ledyard said. “So absolutely recommending 100%, whether vaccinated or not, if you are at work, public places, you should be wearing your mask again.”

The Indiana State Department of Health sent us a statement on the surge, saying in part, “We continue to urge Hoosiers to get vaccinated and provide weekly mobile clinics around the state to increase access. Hoosiers are encouraged to use every tool at their disposal, including following the CDC’s current recommendations for masking, to prevent the spread of disease.”

The state health department says it is updating each county weekly about local transmission rates.

When we asked the health department if it’s considering any statewide restrictions, a spokesperson referred us to the governor’s office.

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