INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb provided an update on the COVID-19 response. He said people are viewing Stage 5 as a reason to act like there is no pandemic.
"Unfortunately too many of us have let our guard down," Holcomb said.
The governor said things are now reaching critical points, including: hospitalized patients, new COVID patients being hospitalized, the 7-day positivity rate is more than 10 percent and hospital staff shortages and illness.
"We must do all we can to protect our hospital capacity," Holcomb said.
Beginning Nov. 15, Holcomb is stepping Indiana back from Stage 5 and signing pandemic requirements for all Hoosiers and restrictions for counties. Those requirements include social distancing and wearing a mask. Businesses will need to post signs saying masks are required and to encourage social distancing amongst customers.
The governor is asking people to limit or stop visiting family at long-term care facilities. Hoosiers are also encouraged to limit gatherings at home and to try to keep gatherings outside.
The state uses positivity rates and other factors to color code each county's level of COVID concern. The state updates that map with daily numbers.
For counties in orange, gatherings will be limited at 50 people. Larger events will need approval of the local health department. That includes limiting attendance at school athletic and other events to 25 percent.
For those counties in red, gathering will be limited at 25 people. Gathering with more than 25 people will need approval for the local health department. Local officials can limit hours for bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
These restrictions will be in place for at least the next month.
The state will make $20 million for local governments to use for compliance efforts, including: planning, public awareness, and enforcement. In order to be eligible, the local governments will be asked to support compliance.
The governor said they are trying to avoid businesses having to shutdown, so Hoosiers must take precautions now to stop the surge.
"Things will shutdown and decrease if we don't take action," Dr. Kristina Box echoed.
Vaccine and holidays update
Dr. Box said many Indiana hospitals are being overwhelmed and have had to divert patients or get creative with where they treat patients.
The state is still hopeful a limited supply of vaccine will make it to Indiana this month.
"This will be a difficult holiday season for many Hoosiers," Dr. Box said. "It won't look like last year. It can't look like last year."
Additional precautions on the holidays will be released next week.