INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb extended Indiana’s public health emergency spurred by the coronavirus pandemic for another 30 days.
The governor signed Executive Orders 21-31 and 21-32, allowing “key items to remain in place that protect Hoosiers.”
The extension comes as Indiana sees an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, as well as concerns about the rise of the omicron variant.
In recent weeks, Holcomb has signaled a willingness to bring an end to the public health emergency and requested legislative actions that would allow him to “responsibly” wind them down. With three key provisions still lacking, he extended his executive orders through Dec. 31.
The orders allow 200,000 eligible households to get an additional $95 per month in federal food assistance. In addition, they allow the state health commissioner to serve as the statewide ordering physician for those who choose to be vaccinated, including children 5 and over. The provision gives Hoosiers access to vaccines through pharmacies, local health departments and other health facilities.
From the governor’s statement:
All directives in executive orders which have continued throughout the public health emergency will expire on Dec. 31. A continuation of the public health emergency and the executive order beyond Dec. 31, 2021, may be deemed necessary to preserve the specified provisions.
Holcomb has outlined three key statutory changes that would allow him to “responsibly” end the public health emergency:
- Allow for the continuation of enhanced federal matching funds for Medicaid expenditures
- Allow for the continuation of the enhanced benefit for those receiving federal food assistance
- Extend the ability to efficiently vaccinate 5- to 11-year-olds