INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box and ISDH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver gave a weekly update on the impact of COVID-19 in Indiana Wednesday afternoon.
The update came after Gov. Holcomb won reelection Tuesday night, fending off challengers who criticized his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Holcomb opened the briefing by stating that circulating rumors of a statewide shutdown and schools going all-virtual rumors are false, but acknowledged coronavirus cases and positivity rates are increasing.
Dr. Box discussed the continued burden of the pandemic on state healthcare workers, citing that their biggest challenge is having enough staffing.
“Our frontline healthcare workers are exhausted,” Dr. Box said. She said burnout and staff shortages are affecting workers, and LTC facility workers are reporting the same.
Dr. Box explained members of the Indiana National Guard are assisting long-term care facilities across the state. She said the first group was trained last week and deployed this week. Another group of guardsmen are being trained this week to be deployed next week to facilities with the most need.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said the state is expecting a limited supply of Pfizer’s vaccine in late November which will be first distributed to the most vulnerable populations and healthcare workers.
Dr. Box emphasized that the state doesn’t know when, or what amount, the vaccine will be received, nor do we know how effective it will be. She said, however, “we 100% know” that mask wearing, handwashing and social distancing practices are effective and inexpensive.
Dr. Weaver expanded on the vaccine update, saying the federal government believes initial shipments should arrive as early as mid-November. The government is asking for state suggested pilot sites. Five sites will be decided to best represent Indiana’s geography, with more partners to be added as the rollout continues.
Governor Holcomb thanked Hoosiers for voting, but also for poll workers who worked the election making sure it was safe to vote.
When asked about the state’s strategy now that he has won re-election, Holcomb said, “The decisions that we make here have zero to do with politics or campaigns. The only campaign that we’re running here is the campaign to save lives.”