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ISDH color-coded county map

Indiana puts a stop to Stage 5 of Back-on-Track Plan after COVID-19 surge

Contributed By:The 411 News

Main defense to protect the public from the disease is close to being breached

Exasperation and optimism filled Gov. Eric Holcomb's address to Indiana residents as the state experiences record shattering numbers of coronavirus infections.

The state's main defense in protecting the public from the disease is close to being breached, Gov. Holcomb said, as Indiana hospitals near capacity. "Hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients are at an all time high and COVID-19 patient numbers are expected to double in the coming weeks."

Indiana reported a daily high of 1,000 new coronavirus cases on July 31. The state reached the 4,421 mark of daily cases on November 4th. On November 11th, the day of the governor's address, it reported 6,642 new cases.

Hospitals are beginning to feel the impact of the surge because their employees are also getting sick, Holcomb said. "We must do all we can to protect hospital staff so they can protect patients who need care; not just the coronavirus patients, but the cancer and heart patients, too."

Beginning this weekend, the governor said, "There will be no more Stage 5" of Indiana's Back-on-Track Plan. A new executive order will be issued, targeting the majority of Indiana's counties with restrictions on public gatherings.

In Stage 5, restaurants and bars that served food were allowed to open at full capacity as long as six feet of space to maintain social distancing was in place. Customers had to be seated at a table or counter.

Indoor and outdoor venues were allowed to open at full capacity with social distancing measures in place. Senior centers and congregate meal sites (in churches and community centers) were permitted to open with precautions. Personal services, gyms and fitness centers resumed normal operations with social distancing safeguards and cleaning protocols in place.

Gov. Holcomb compared the spread of COVID-19 when Stage 5 was introduced in late September to the spread of the virus today. Using the state's color-coded county map, the governor said, "Back then, most counties were blue and yellow, meaning the spread was minimal. This week none are blue; only five counties are yellow. Nine counties are red and the remaining counties are orange meaning the spread is high." Indiana has 92 counties.

Lake County is orange on the color-coded county map. Just south of Lake County is Newton County, in red on the map.

Indiana will make $20 million in grants available to local governments for compliance and mitigation efforts. Those funds can be used to review plans for holding public events, monitoring businesses for capacity, and public awareness campaigns.

Gov. Holcomb said there are positive movements toward a vaccine. "We know how to protect ourselves. We've asked a lot of you and we're asking you to do a lot more. With your help we can get through this."

Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana's State Health Commissioner said the surge is expected to continue for a number of weeks but "the length depends on actions we take in coming days and weeks to reduce the spread."

The new executive order will be issued on November 15.

ISDH Color-Coded County Map

Story Posted:11/12/2020

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