Leaders and officials send health reminders to Hoosiers as virus spread worsens

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INDIANAPOLIS — New numbers from the COVID-19 Tracking Project shows Indiana now ranks as the fourth-worst state in the country when it comes to the rate of spreading coronavirus.

There are several factors that contribute to this data as Indiana moves into Stage 5. But some are warning people not to let your guard down.

“The first thing that could contribute to it of course is Labor Day it’s been about three weeks since that happened. And we see that generally after a major holiday…I think kids in schools could be a reason,” said Dr. Brian Dixon, director of Public Health Informatics for Regenstrief Institute.

Those are the factors that could have caused a spike in Indiana’s reproduction number — or R-not.

At one point the Hoosier state was the sixth-best according to data from the COVID-19 Tracking Project. Now Indiana is the fourth-worst.

“I think what the data are telling us is people are starting to go back to kind of go back to normal activities,” said Dixon.

Indiana is now in Stage 5 the final phase of reopening. Wednesday, Gov. Eric Holcomb emphasized just because the virus is spreading doesn’t mean we’re backtracking.

“What we need to do to be extra vigilant. But it doesn’t mean that we go back to 4.5 or 4. It means we need to hunker down in the areas where we see spread,” said Holcomb.

However, Dixon says while things looked ok when the decision was made the state might have acted too fast.

“I do think that potentially we are moving ahead maybe a little sooner than what we should have,” said Dixon.

Dixon added it’s important for people to keep safety precautions in place especially over the holidays something State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box also stressed to Hoosiers.

“We need to continue wearing our masks, washing our hands, social distancing, not going to work or to school if you’re sick, getting tested, and engaging with our contact tracers. That’s how we prevent the spread,” Box said.

Dixon told me we should also be watching the numbers of cases daily, the positivity rate, and the number of tests being performed.

Within the last two weeks, testing has decreased, and he said part of that is due to schools only conducting surveillance testing.

People interested in learning more about topics including spread rate, population prevalence and vaccine development can attend free classes by Regenstrief and Indiana Pandemic Information Collaborative. To learn more, visit Regenstrief’s website.

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