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INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers learned Wednesday Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box tested positive for COVID-19, along with two of her family members. Box said she and her husband followed the health and safety guidelines and kept their social circle small.

But, Governor Eric Holcomb said Dr. Box’s team found smaller gatherings are contributing more cases than some of the larger events where many safety protocols are in place.

“Those events where it’s just easier to let your guard down and be more trusting, and just assume that the odds aren’t there or against you, then forget about the masks and the social distancing, those are the very events that turn out to be big contributors to our positive cases,” Holcomb said. “It’s these events that have nothing to do with our 500 capacity limit, tracing is proving that. We are proving that we can go to a Colts game or a soccer game or school or go shopping and you can do it safely. The numbers in fact have everything to do how many of us are and aren’t letting our guard down, even at smaller events and medium-size and bigger events where safety protocols are not put into place or practiced or reinforced.”

But Ana Bento, Assistant Professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health, said even the small events should be avoided right now as our positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise.

“The most important thing is that the cases that are going up is only a fraction of the actual circulation of Sars-CoV in the population,” Bento said. “There’s many symptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases which means that today I’m talking to somebody that appears to be fine and yet they can already be infectious.”

We are still in Stage 5 in Indiana which lifts capacity restrictions for social gatherings and meetings. If you have an event of more than 500 people, you are required to submit a plan to your county health department.

But, Bento said the size of the event does not matter. There is still a concern of spreading this virus.

“If you think about an epidemic as a chain right,” Bento explained. “So a chain has links and all the links are by definition linked together. So if we remove some of those links, we’re breaking the chain and therefore stopping the process of infection. So that’s exactly what we’re doing, by removing the links or distancing the links from each other, we no longer have a chain.” 

As always, experts urge people to continue wearing their masks, social distancing and washing their hands. Bento advised people not to attend events right now that are not mandatory.