State takes a step back due to COVID
Indiana is among the states that have taken a step backward in the COVID-19 fight.
Last Friday, Governor Eric Holcomb signed Executive Order 20-48, which puts in place pandemic requirements for all Hoosiers. Counties with high levels of COVID-19 will have specific restrictions.
Ripley County has been at the orange level, according to Dr. David Welsh, who has been concerned at the uptick in cases that are rising at an alarming rate. Two weeks ago he informed the county commissioners where the county was headed, if things didn’t change. Cases have been steadily rising since.
The Indiana Department of Health has established a color coded county map that shows the COVID-19 cases on a weekly basis. This map is updated weekly on Wednesdays. “We are still at Orange,” noted Dr. Welsh on Monday of this week, but with the trending numbers it looks like the county could be at the higher level of Red on Wednesday. This will curtail many activities. We will keep you posted this week.
As of November 13, there were 484 positive cases being monitored in Ripley County, 12 deaths with 798 confirmed cases.
The governor says we are at a critical point at this time. “Unfortunately, too many of us, and around the country, have let our guards down and either assumed we won’t gt it, or if we do, se be it, we’ll get through it,” he said in a briefing.
The governor said that while people at first were following mandates of wearing masks and social distancing, that soon became lax. He says that is why we are now at a critical level and are heading backwards.
The number of hospitalized COVID patients is at an all-time high, with some hospitals reporting their number have recently doubled.
Hospitals are experiencing staff shortages with staff calling in sick.
“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 for the cancer patient, heart patient and other Hoosier Patients who need care in our urban, rural, suburban hospitals all across the State of Indiana, but their beds are filling up. They’re being taken up,” said Governor Holcomb.
With that information, Gov. Holcomb struck down Stage 5. He said pharmaceuticals are working hard on a vaccine, but until that becomes available, Hoosiers must be vigilant. “Like many states across the country, we are in the midst of a second surge.”
Face coverings are required, and social distancing of at least six feet in public places is required.
The Indiana Department of Health Services and the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission with local partners and citizen input will continue to check businesses for occupancy, social distancing, face covering use and other executive order components to assure compliance,” said Gov. Holcomb.
Businesses are required to place signage at their public and employee entrances notifying all that face coverings are required. Businesses should admit only those who wear face coverings, practice social distancing and follow requirements when counties are at Orange and Red levels.
“All customers in restaurants and bars and nightclubs are required to be seated when receiving service, six feet of distancing between non-household parties is required, including tables and bar seating.
Surrounding counties have been going to virtual learning with many extra-curricular activities postponed in area county schools. Many kids have been sent home sick with symptoms and parents of students who may have been in touch with the sick ones have been notified.
Many holiday events have been canceled or modified and the Governor is asking Hoosiers to reconsider big Thanksgiving gatherings.