‘Data driving decisions’: Gov. Holcomb, state officials optimistic on positivity, vaccinations

Coronavirus Watch

INDIANAPOLIS––Governor Holcomb opened Wednesday’s with the positive news of hospitalizations and positivity rates trending down. Holcomb said he’d like to think this is a result of Hoosiers stepping up to stop the spread.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box reported the latest numbers from ISDH including 1,452 more positive coronavirus cases and 52 additional confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

As of Wednesday, 736,504 Hoosiers have received a first dose of vaccine, and 258,213 are fully vaccinated. She said the state’s vaccination numbers are going up and said, “It’s incredibly exciting to see these numbers continue to climb.” 

Dr. Box said Indiana will keep the eligible age range for the vaccination the same for now in order to ensure that administered second doses are covered before expanding.

Indiana’s positivity rate is at 6.2%, a significant drop from last week. Dr. Box noted that hospitalizations across the state are down too.

As a result of these dropping numbers, Indiana’s metric map is showing a county in Blue for the first time in months.

Dr. Box also explained that 930 cases of the UK coronavirus variant have been seen in 34 states, including 12 cases in Indiana. She said the South Africa and Brazil variants are also more contagious and the state is preparing for cases of those to be found in Indiana.

She knows Hoosiers are tired of hearing it, but Dr. Box continues to encourage everyone to please keep wearing a mask, staying socially distanced, stay home if you’re sick and get tested if you are symptomatic.

When speaking about the eligibility range for the vaccine, Dr. Lindsay Weaver said, “We continue to use data to drive our decisions.” 

She said Indiana will decrease the eligibility floor to ages 60-65 as soon as possible. This age group represents 432,00 people in Indiana. This week, the state’s vaccine advisory committee advised on the next steps after age the floor is lowered to 60-65. 

Dr. Weaver said we will see an incremental vaccine expansion to ages 50-59, then to Hoosiers under 50 with certain comorbidities like active dialysis, down syndrome, sickle cell disease and organ transplant patients.

Holcomb, Dr. Box and Dr. Weaver are hopeful that more vaccine doses are on the way. Weaver is particularly excited about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is a single dose, has less stringent storage requirements and is reporting a 85% efficacy. 

They asked Hoosiers to please continue to be patient, and know that we are expanding vaccine eligibility as early as possible, and will expand sites and administration programs as soon as Indiana sees more doses arrive.

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