INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and state health officials including State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., and Chief Medical Officer Lindsay Weaver are holding a media briefing at 2:30 p.m. to provide an update on COVID-19’s impact on the state.
Nearly two years after the first COVID case was confirmed back in March 2020, the virus continues to put a strain on Indiana’s healthcare system. Chief Medical Officer Lindsay Weaver says the current hospital census is at its highest levels in five years, and more than 1,500 patients have been hospitalized at this point last year.
Daily cases have surged in December to levels not seen since last winter, and the entire state is in ‘orange’ and ‘red’ community spread status.
Gov. Holcomb shared Tuesday that he has signed an extension of the state’s public health emergency. The orders allow 200,000 eligible households to get an additional $95 per month in federal food assistance. In addition, they allow the state health commissioner to serve as the statewide ordering physician for those who choose to be vaccinated, including children 5 and over. The provision gives Hoosiers access to vaccines through pharmacies, local health departments and other health facilities.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box anticipates the surge of omicron cases to increase in the next several weeks based on data from other countries.
“This situation will get worse before it improves,” says Dr. Box.
Dr. Box also acknowledged the state is also trying to work on acquiring more at-home rapid tests. She recommends getting a PCR test if one is having trouble finding a rapid COVID test, even if the results take a day or two to process.