INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb is willing to lift the public health emergency for COVID-19 that has been in place since March 6, 2020. That executive order has been renewed 20 times since it was put into place.
The executive orders have included a mask mandate, school guidance and other restrictions that were deemed necessary throughout the pandemic.
The most recent executive order, signed Oct. 29, noted a decrease in the number of cases of COVID-19 since the September spike, but also pointed to the state seeing more than 1,000 new cases and averaging 17 deaths daily.
The order also points out only 57.3% of eligible Hoosiers are fully vaccinated and that in the week leading up to the order, 830 of 834 new COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital were unvaccinated, 128 of 135 COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU were unvaccinated, and 153 of 168 COVID-19 deaths were unvaccinated individuals.
“When extending the last state public health emergency for another 30 days, I asked my team to bring me a plan that would allow us to wind it down responsibly. They have presented me a plan that identifies three key items that must be preserved if I am to responsibly allow the state public health emergency to expire," Holcomb said in a statement released Tuesday.
Holcomb said he is working with Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) and Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) on passing three statutory changes. Holcomb said those changes would protect Hoosiers by allowing for the continuation of enhanced federal matching funds for Medicaid expenditures, the continuation of the enhanced benefit for those receiving federal food assistance and extend the ability to efficiently vaccinate 5- to 11-year-olds.
A spokeswoman for Sen. Bray told 13News that Bray is continuing to "work with the governor and Speaker Huston on a way to end the emergency, but no details have been finalized at this time."