The Journal Gazette
Thursday, July 30, 2020 1:00 am

Stage 4.5 extended to Aug. 27

Holcomb concerned about positive testing rate in state

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers will stay in Stage 4.5 until Aug. 27, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday.

“This virus will take what we give it,” Holcomb said – urging residents to remain vigilant by wearing masks, keeping socially distant, washing hands and more.

That status quo means social gathering limitations of 250; continued 75% capacity limit in restaurants and 50% in bars; and limits on other events.

Holcomb said the state's high positivity rate – the percentage of tests coming back positive – continues to be a concern.

Officials would like that rate under 5%. It was higher in the beginning of the pandemic, when only the sickest could get tested. But a seven-day rolling average dropped to 4.6% as of July 4. It is now running around 6.8%, and in some counties it is much higher.

Statewide, 630 new cases were identified Wednesday – with a daily positive rate of 8.4%. Another eight Hoosiers died, bringing the death total to 2,733.

Allen County reported 25 new cases but no new deaths. Area counties reported a collective 11 new cases with no new deaths.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box also updated the state's contact tracing efforts. When a Hoosier gets a positive test result, contact tracers interview the person to identify possible exposure to others. Then those people are contacted and asked to isolate – thereby stopping the spread of the virus.

Box said about 80% of people are complying with contact tracing, but some are refusing to assist.

She noted that a staffer at a church camp tested positive and 40 of 50 camp staffers from eight states wound up testing positive, but they were quarantined and isolated on site – stopping the spread outside the camp. About 75 other cases have been traced to family reunions, church events, graduation parties, bachelor parties and weddings.

Box said at least 11 cases were traced to two bachelor parties in southwest Indiana. It was likely more, because people involved refused to help with contact tracing. Sixty were exposed at a prom.

“These all real-world examples. We pinpointed the source of infection to stop it,” Box said. “We all have a role to play in preventing COVID cases.”

To watch Governor Holcomb's briefing on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, click here.

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily