‘The state is on fire:’ Holcomb orders halt to elective medical procedures as Indiana goes completely red

Gov. Holcomb updates Indiana's COVID-19 response

INDIANAPOLIS (FOX19) - Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday a new order requiring Indiana hospitals to postpone or reschedule non-emergent procedures.

The order will take effect Dec. 16 and end Jan. 3.

The governor explained the order is to “try to clear out some beds and give some relief to our hospital personnel and networks.”

He emphasized the order should not deter those with serious medical conditions from going to their doctors and that emergency, critical procedures will still be performed.

“Our nurses and doctors are overwhelmed and beyond exhausted,” Holcomb said. “They are trying to recharge their batteries maybe one day a week to go into one of the toughest environments that anyone in our state’s history has had to face on a day-in and day-out basis, all on behalf of trying to make other people feel better. And so our plan and our path forward has to react to that reality.”

The statewide order represents a break from the governor’s county-specific strategy of late fall. It reflects the broad, exponential increase of the virus statewide.

Alert Map

One month after Indiana introduced an alert map to show local incident rates of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, the entire state is now at the highest level, or ‘red,’ on the map.

Not one county is below 200 average daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to Department of Health Commissioner Kristina Box, MD.

“The state of Indiana is on fire,” Holcomb said Wednesday. “All of our 92 counties are red.”

That includes three southeast Indiana counties, which are also newly red on the state’s weekly positivity rate map.

The maps and daily case reports can be found here.

Dearborn, Franklin, and Ripley counties are all red on the map after the Indiana State Department of Health released its Wednesday update. These counties have a 7-day positivity rate of 15% or greater, and there are 200 or more new weekly cases per 100,000 residents.

There are specific guidelines for counties in the red level under Gov. Eric Holcomb’s order:

  • All social gatherings are limited to 25 people.
  • Special, seasonal or commercial events planned for more than 25 people require the approval of a safety plan by the local health department. College and professional sports are included.
  • Health officials advise that events be canceled or postponed.
  • Attendance at winter indoor K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular events, including IHSAA sports, is limited to participants, support personnel and parents, or guardians.
  • Local officials can consider limiting hours for the operation of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.
  • Community recreational sports leagues and tournaments may continue with participants, required personnel, and parents or guardians only.
  • Common areas and break rooms should be closed.
  • Senior care activities are suspended.
  • Hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other congregate settings can impose visitation limits.

Indiana reported 5,853 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday. Since March 6, the ISDH has confirmed 398,417 total COVID-19 cases.

Here is a breakdown of new and total cases for Indiana counties in the FOX19 NOW viewing area:

  • Dearborn County: 59 new cases (2,875 total)
  • Franklin County: 22 new cases (910 total)
  • Ohio County: Two new cases (274 total)
  • Ripley County: 23 new cases (1,895 total)
  • Switzerland County: 11 new cases (330 total)
  • Union County: Five new cases (327 total)

The ISDH announced 98 more COVID-19 deaths, which happened between Nov. 6 and Dec 8, on Wednesday. These latest confirmed deaths bring the state’s overall death toll to 6,207.

No county in the FOX19 NOW viewing area reported any COVID-19 deaths Wednesday.

Indiana’s 7-day positivity rate is now 14.2%, according to the ISDH. That percentage is down significantly from the 25.8% reported by the ISDH on Saturday.

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