Indiana officials announce next stage of reopening plan, efforts to increase testing

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Indiana officials have announced the start of phase four of the state’s reopening plan and efforts that will increase COVID-19 testing across the state.

Wednesday evening, Governor Eric Holcomb announced that on Friday at 12:01 A.M. all Indiana counties can move to stage four of reopening.

This is days earlier than the original June 14th date that was previously planned.

“We hit this hard at the outset and we are in a better position today because of that. I am absolutely convinced because of the way Hoosiers responded, we are able to move up a couple days,” Holcomb said.

During stage four, businesses like bowling alleys, movie theaters, nightclubs, and cultural and tourism sites such as museums, can reopen their doors with capacity restrictions.

Stage four also allows for restaurants and retail to increase capacity limits.

“As we move to stage four it doesn’t really mean that we go back to the normal, no masks, no social distancing, no careful hand-washing and alcoholing your hands, all of those are critical,” said Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner.

In addition to reopening plans, officials announced that the state is teaming with Eli Lilly and the Indiana Hospital Association to create a statewide lab testing network.

“The network will leverage the state’s buying power to more efficiently compete for supplies, equipment, and reagents,” Box said.

Box says once established, the network will create a significant increase in testing across the state.

“Once these reagents begin to arrive in early July, the state will double it’s current testing capacity,” Box said.

Dr. Box also announced that the state has started testing staff at long-term care facilities.

Last week, it was announced that every staff member at these facilities will be tested by the state.

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