New statewide initiative announced for Indiana long-term care facilities; officials submit plan for vaccine distribution

Local News

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Wendesday, Governor Eric Holcomb provided an update on Indiana’s response to COVID-19. This includes the announcement of a new statewide initiative, involving long-term care facilities. It also includes the development of a plan for distributing a vaccine, when available.

According to data from Indiana state health officials, since the start of the pandemic over 2,200 long-term care residents have died from COVID-19.

This makes up 58% of the state’s total deaths caused by the virus.

“This is not unique to the state of Indiana but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, but it’s happening across the nation,” Governor Holcomb said.

In response to these numbers, Wednesday, a new 5 step statewide initiative to assist long-term care staff and residents was announced.

Highlights of this plan includes sending the National Guard to all long-term care facilities to assist with testing and infection control practices. The goal is to begin this initiative on November 1st in facilities experiencing positive cases.

The plan also calls for additional PPE to be distributed.

Governor Holcomb says what happens in these facilities has a direct impact on the rest of the state.

“What happens in the community that ends up in the facility ends up in the hospital, so it’s all the same stream. It’s either upstream or down stream no matter where you are but it’s all interrelated,” Holcomb said.

Wednesday, it was also announced that the state is preparing for distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, when it becomes available.

“On October 16th we submitted our interim draft plan to the CDC for review after consulting with a number of cross-disciplinary advisory groups,” said Dr. Lindsay Weaver, ISDH chief medical officer.

Weaver says while she believes a widely available vaccine is still months away the state is planning in phase one to get the vaccine to Hoosiers who may need it the most.

“The latest we’ve heard is that limited supplies might be available by the end of the year, that means distribution in phase one will be focused on the healthcare workforce and those who are at the greatest risk for complications of death from COVID-19,” Weaver said.

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