Gov. Eric Holcomb renewed the state’s public health emergency order once again on Thursday.
The extension comes one day after state health officials offered cautious optimism with the state’s waning COVID-19 trends, including decreasing cases and hospitalizations. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box emphasized, however, that they do not expect these declines to be “linear.”
“We may see cases bounce back up and bounce back down,” Box said. “If you look at other states, that’s what they see — kind of a ‘sawtooth’ pattern. That is the nature of this disease.”
COVID’s up-and-down nature has proven itself in Indiana since March 2020, with the state’s latest surge attributed to the more contagious delta variant. This is the 19th time Holcomb has renewed the order, and it will remain in place through October.
“The virus remains in every county throughout Indiana,” Holcomb states in the order, also noting that the state has now surpassed 15,000 COVID-19 deaths.
Holcomb also notes that many Hoosiers have yet to be vaccinated. About 56% of eligible Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated to date, with only 1/3 eligible children ages 12-15 fully vaccinated, health officials said Wednesday.
And while the statewide average positivity rate fell below 10% for the first time in weeks, Holcomb notes it was close to 2% in June.
Another executive order, in effect Oct. 1, extends certain pandemic-related provisions previously in place, including registration requirements for some healthcare workers and the implementation of Indiana Medicaid.
Previous coverage:Gov. Holcomb eases day care quarantine measures when children wear masks
Earlier in September, Holcomb issued executive orders similarly extending the public health emergency and easing quarantine measures for some children and adults in K-12 schools and daycares. He had also required health care systems and the state health department to closely monitor hospitals’ patient capacity and diversion status.
In the executive order for October, Holcomb also addresses individual Hoosiers and the importance of vaccinations.
“All Hoosiers and each and every person within the Hoosier state should take responsibility for their safety and health and the safety and health of those around them…”
IndyStar’s Shari Rudavsky contributed to this report.
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