INDIANAPOLIS — During Governor Eric Holcomb’s weekly coronavirus briefing with reporters, Dr. Lindsay Weaver, Chief Medical Officer of the Indiana State Department of Health said plans were already made to review and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine Hoosiers have been promised by federal authorities.
“We have been told by the federal government to be prepared to receive initial shipments of COVID-19 vaccine as early as mid-November,” she said. “We don’t know yet if that timeline will hold.”
Should the vaccine arrive as promised, Dr. Weaver said a team has already been assembled to review it and plans have been drawn up to store and distribute the therapeutic from centrally located medical facilities along with lists that prioritize which medical personnel and patients will be first in line for the treatment.
Fresh off his re-election victory Tuesday, the governor said that, “The only campaign we are running here is to save lives,” and that he would consult with the leadership of the General Assembly when it returns to work in January regarding his executive public health order decisions, an opportunity top lawmakers said they’ve been denied since the start of the pandemic.
With a coronavirus positivity rate that has steadily climbed to 8.7% across the state at a time when health officials maintain a 5% growth rate shows a leveling off of the progression of the disease, Holcomb said he won’t roll back the reopening of Indiana’s economy as long as Hoosiers wear masks out in public, stay six feet apart and wash their hands regularly.
Holcomb was backed up by his medical experts.
“And you know our bars are open,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box. “The tables are socially distanced, individuals have to be masked if they get up from the table. Individuals in restaurants have to be socially distant, so it’s not like we’re open to the normal world as we were before the pandemic.”
Dr. Box said Indiana medical and health care providers were under a tremendous professional and personal strain now stretching into their eighth month of the pandemic and she called for more volunteers to come forward to work in the state’s Long Term Care facilities.
Holcomb said Indiana National Guard troops have received training and begun arriving at the state’s LTC sites to assist staff with patient care.