INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Holcomb delays Phase 5 of reopening plan
In Wednesday's briefing, Governor Eric Holcomb noted that in some places across the country, the spread of COVID-19 is gaining momentum forcing some states to going back to closing businesses after reopening.
Holcomb said Indiana will be taking a "cautious step forward" going into the July 4th weekend and will go into "Phase 4.5" instead of Phase 5 of the state's reopening plan from July 4 through July 17.
“While most of our health indicators remain positive, our data indicates a need to be extra cautious, which is why we will pause much of our Back on Track roadmap,” Gov. Holcomb said. “I urge Hoosiers to maintain vigilance in social distancing and wearing masks so we can continue to reopen our state for business.”
With Phase 4.5, the state will hold off on increasing capacity in some businesses including dining rooms, bars and entertainment venues.
This decision comes as a result of data that has shown an increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
Under the revised plan, beginning July 4, fairs, festivals and other similar outdoor events may open. Pari-mutuel horse racing and county and state fair racing may begin with 50 percent spectator capacity. Youth overnight camps may open.
K-12 school operations may begin the 2020-21 academic year on July 1. Extra-curricular, co-curricular activities may resume July 6.
Outdoor visitation is required at assisted living facilities and nursing homes beginning July 4 and indoor visitation may begin. Hospital visitations with precautions are encouraged.
During the briefing, state officials also announced that Indiana reported a decrease in positive cases and deaths in long term care facilities since last week.
Experimental COVID-19 vaccines being tested by Pfizer
The first of four experimental COVID-19 vaccines being tested by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech showed encouraging results in very early testing of 45 people, the companies said Wednesday.
Study volunteers given either a low or medium dose, in two shots about a month apart, had immune responses in the range expected to be protective, when compared to some COVID-19 survivors, according to the preliminary results.
Side effects were typical for vaccines, mostly pain at the injection site and fever.
The report has been submitted for publication in a scientific journal but not yet reviewed. With its other potential candidates still in the earliest stage of testing, Pfizer aims to open a large-scale study this summer but can't yet say which shot is best to include.
But researchers didn’t administer a second shot of the highest dose initially tested, sticking with the low and medium doses. The higher-dose shot caused more injection reactions without apparent added benefit.
About 15 different COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in human testing worldwide, with several poised to begin huge, last-stage studies to prove if they really work.
IMS Museum announces reopening plan
The IMS Museum will be open to visitors on track tours beginning July 6 and opens to the rest of the public July 7.
The museum will implement a number of changes for guests during visits:
- Mandatory masks
- Temperature checks upon entry — anyone with a fever (and their party) will be asked to leave
- No cash payments and no ATM availability
- Capacity limited to 100 guests
- Social distancing encouraged
- Interactive kiosks closed
Health Department gives update on COVID-19 numbers
The Indiana State Department of Health reported 371 new cases of coronavirus in the state, totaling nearly 46,000 cases. An additional eight Hoosiers have died from the virus between June 14 and June 30. More than 2,400 people have died in the state from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Almost half a million Hoosiers have been tested for the virus and about 9.4 percent of those tests are positive.
Mayor Hogsett to announce details of economic restart program to help local businesses, restaurants
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is scheduled to announce a partnership to assist local businesses, restaurants, and cultural amenities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Hogsett will announce the launch of an economic restart program aimed at encouraging central Indiana residents to support and explore Indianapolis' restaurants, museums, cultural institutions, small businesses, and hospitality amenities.
The press conference begins Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Livery, 720 N. College Ave.
This announcement follows a number of reopening initiatives launched by the Hogsett administration, including a PPE reimbursement program for small businesses and nonprofits, a free face covering program for all Indianapolis residents and the #MaskUpIndy public awareness campaign.
On Thursday, July 2 at 10 a.m., Mayor Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine will announce the next steps for COVID-19 restrictions and public health guidelines in Marion County. The county is currently operating under MCPHD's June 11 public health order.
Gov. Holcomb expected to speak on Indiana's progress and Stage 5 details
Governor Eric Holcomb's weekly press conference comes as most of the state is set to enter the fifth and final stage of his plan to get Indiana back on track.
The virtual press conference begins Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.
Gov. Holcomb's initial plan was announced May 1, and each stage has begun as planned.
Stage 5 is projected to begin Saturday, July 4 with the following changes:
- Retail stores and malls may operate at full capacity.
- Restaurants, bars and nightclubs may operate at full capacity.
- Personal services may open at full capacity.
- Restrictions are lifted at gyms and fitness facilities.
- Conventions, sports events, fairs, festivals and like events may resume.
- Restrictions are lifted at amusement parks, water parks and like facilities. Social distancing guidelines should be maintained.
- Youth overnight camps may open.
- Recreational youth and adult sports tournaments may resume.
- Pari-mutuel horse racing and county and state fair racing anticipated to begin with spectators.
- Raceway events may return to full capacity.
Face coverings are still recommended, and Hoosiers 65 and older and those with known high-risk medical conditions should adhere to social distancing guidelines and remain cautious at work and in their communities.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been 2.63 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 3:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 127,000 deaths and 720,000 people recovered.
Worldwide, there have been 10.47 million confirmed cases with more than 511,000 deaths and 5.35 million recovered.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.