The Journal Gazette
Thursday, November 05, 2020 1:00 am

Holcomb shoots down rumors of state closing

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb began his weekly COVID-19 briefing Wednesday by denouncing wild rumors that he would shut down the state again and schools would go back to virtual learning.

“100% no truth to that whatsoever,” he said. “We would just ask folks to keep in mind in the future that wherever those sources are to discount them because they are simply misleading the people. And the unfortunate thing is it's affecting people's daily lives and the decisions that they make. Not helpful. Counterproductive.”

The misinformation has been spreading like fire the last two weeks, and Holcomb said he will continue a “surgical” approach to hot spots in the state.

The problem is the whole state is becoming a hot spot. According to new metrics released Wednesday, 72 counties are in the top two levels of virus spread. Only one county is in blue, the lowest level.

All of northeast Indiana is now orange. Only red is worse. State officials are triaging help to counties seeing the worst rise in the novel coronavirus and trying to clamp down on cases in nursing homes.

But Holcomb said just because state health officials are working with counties in the red to course correct doesn't mean “we're taking our eye off of 90 or 88 counties who are orange, whatever it is.”

On Wednesday, the state recorded 3,756 new cases – the third-highest daily total during the pandemic. An additional 25 Hoosiers also died for a total of 4,224.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said the state's seven-day positivity rate of cases is now 8.7% and went up 200% between Sept. 15 and Oct. 25. The state is also starting to see more testing delays.

When asked about whether any new restrictions would be imposed, Holcomb said: “We have the capacity to care right now. If we start to lose that capacity to care, then we're going to have to become more and more restrictive.”

Wednesday's update showed 1,897 Hoosiers hospitalized with COVID-19 – the highest of the pandemic. About 30% of ICU beds are available, or about 650 statewide. Ventilators are readily available.

But some individual hospitals are running out of critical care beds. In District 3, which covers much of northeast Indiana, there are only about 66 ICU beds left. 

At a glance

New cases and deaths in area counties:

Allen: 277 cases; 1 death

Adams: 36 cases; 1 death

DeKalb: 33 cases; 0 deaths

Huntington: 28 cases; 0 deaths

Kosciusko: 60 cases; 0 deaths

LaGrange: 15 cases; 1 death

Noble: 47 cases; 0 deaths

Steuben: 19 cases; 0 deaths

Wabash: 31 cases; 0 deaths

Wells: 12 cases; 0 deaths

Whitley: 23 cases; 0 deaths

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