FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – “I wouldn’t celebrate just yet.”
That’s the cautious optimism from Brian Dixon, a health data expert from Indianapolis, as he looks at the state’s COVID-19 numbers – specifically daily hospitalizations.
“Some of our original projections were that the rates of hospitalizations would continue to climb and climb and climb all the way through the end of the month,” Dixon explains.
“The data now indicate that with respect to hospitalizations – rates have leveled off. This means that there is not as much of a concern anymore that we’re going to run out of beds or run out of ventilators in the state to take care of COVID-19 patients.”
Dixon is Director of Public Health Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis and a faculty member with IU’s Fairbanks School of Public Health – part of the team that guides testing and crunches numbers for the Indiana State Department of Health.
Dixon expects COVID-19 cases to rise as testing becomes more widespread. Hospitalization numbers won’t vary with testing since that population has been tested from the start.
He sees hospitalization numbers flattening in both Fort Wayne and Indianapolis but growing in the northwest corner of the state.
“If you’re the governor and you’re looking statewide and you have to make a decision for all Hoosiers, you’re probably not going to make a decision (to reopen) right now,” says Dixon.
“We’re still watching the numbers because there’s not a leveling off everywhere.”
Dixon says the new antibody tests the state will conduct over the next five days will be a helpful tool for the governor’s next step. Those tests should better show how many people have been truly exposed to COVID-19 across the state.
If those numbers show wide asymptomatic exposure?
“I think a logical next step would be that we could open up certain parts of the economy and put some people back to work in in a limited way – at 25% capacity or half capacity.”
The governor’s current mandate expires at 11:59 p.m. on May 1.