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INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine gave an update Thursday on the city’s coronavirus response including Halloween guidelines.

Hogsett announced Marion County’s current coronavirus mitigation efforts will stay in place and asked residents to avoid face-to-face trick or treating and indoor Halloween gatherings.

Officials later clarified that Halloween and trick-or-treating activities being discouraged are not coming in the form of an executive order, but follow previously-announced CDC recommended guidelines.

Hogsett opened the briefing by announcing COVID-19 transmission rates in schools are steady. He thanked students, teachers and administrators for staying consistent by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing guidelines.

“We are keeping the restrictions that we have in place. We have reason to believe that they are working.”

Hogsett said it’s now time to double-down on mask-wearing and hand-washing after reporting Marion County’s seven day positivity rate at 5%.

Dr. Caine said the past two weeks has seen a slow rise in newly confirmed cases. Early September saw 15-20 hospital cases per day in Marion County, now around 25. 

“We’ve gone up about 5 people per day who have COVID-19-like symptoms. Hospital admissions are up as well by about 3 or 4 per day,” she said. 

Dr. Caine added that this trend is not particularly alarming, but Hoosiers need to continue to be cautious.

When asked about imposing new restrictions, Dr. Caine said because of the significant, steady increase in positivity, bars and restaurants will remain closing at midnight, but officials are not looking to tighten guidelines at this time.

“We are not going to move back just yet. We would like to monitor for a few more weeks to see if these concerning trends continue. We are hoping we are not going to have to do that,” said Dr. Caine.

Hogsett added, “There are some trends that concern us, but overall as we reported, our positivity rate continues to decline. At the end of the day, data and science are going to dictate our decisions.” 

Marion County’s positivity rate has reduced dramatically since March, following after the mayor’s restrictions on gatherings and restaurant occupancy, said Dr. Caine.

When asked about Lucas Oil Stadium and Indianapolis Colts games, Dr. Caine announced capacity will hold 12,500 spectators. 

Dr. Caine also mentioned that Hoosiers need to protect their loved ones and friends by joining city officials in their “Sleeve Up” flu shot campaign.