No more stage 5: Holcomb announces new restrictions begin this weekend

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTWO/WAWV) — Beginning Nov. 15, Indiana will no longer be in Stage 5 of the Back on Track plan.

Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday announced new targeted restrictions will go into effect in counties in red and orange of the state’s COVID-19 risk metrics map as hospitalizations across the state continue to surge.

The new guidance is expected to last a month.

He said for orange counties, social gatherings will be limited to 50 people. For red counties, they will be limited to 25 people.

Special seasonal events with higher attendance will need approval from local health officials.

Holcomb said that when he announced Stage 5, the state was at 3.9% positivity rate. As of Wednesday, the state had increased by more than 6% to 10.3%. He noted that he “very deliberately” said Hoosiers could not let their guard down in Stage 5.

“Too many of us have let our guard down,” he said.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are at an all-time high, he added, with 2,544 Hoosiers currently hospitalized and an average of 210 new COVID-19 patients being admitted daily across the state. He said those numbers could double in some areas over the next few weeks.

“We must do all we can to protect our hospital capacity so they can protect patients and care for them not only for those who have the COVID but other Hoosier patients who need care in our urban, rural suburban hospitals all across the state of Indiana,” stated Holcomb.

According to Holcomb, health care workers are “exhausted and overwhelmed.”

The Indiana Hospital Association approved of Holcomb’s declaration. IHA President Brian Tabor said in a statement, “We applaud the steps announced by the Governor today, and it is urgent that all elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels collaborate on the steps needed to slow the spread. Our frontline health care heroes need all Hoosiers to understand how dangerous the current trends are—COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 164% since October 1, with today seeing an all-time high in hospitalizations of 2,544.”

In Vigo County, Union Hospital is seeing a lot of COVID-19 cases come in, according to Union Hospital’s director of quality and infection control, Marc Keilman.

“We’re full. For the last week or so we’ve been teetering around the full mark if I can just be honest. Everyday we’re discharging patients with COVID and we’re admitting them right back into the hospital,” explained Keilman.

According to Keilman, Union Hospital was averaging 30 COVID-19 patients over the past few weeks. As of Wednesday morning, he reported that the hospital had 57 COVID-19 patients.

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