State Officials Continue to Promote Social Distancing, Targeted Testing in COVID-19 Response

State health officials are sticking with their targeted approach to COVID-19 testing.

During Thursday’s press conference, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the goal is to focus testing on the highest-risk individuals, those who are severely ill, and those at a high risk of exposure because of where they work or live. “As we’ve stated before, the CDC says that most individuals have mild symptoms and do not need to be tested and can recover at home,” Box said.

Box also called on long-term care facilities to develop plans to house patients who test positive. “We had a situation last night in which a facility sent several residents who had tested positive to the hospital, when some could’ve been appropriately isolated at the facility at the time,” she explained. “This taxes our healthcare system and unnecessarily exposes health care workers and others to this virus.”

She stressed that social distancing applies to every Hoosier, even the young and those who don’t feel sick. “I continue to hear about people gathering in groups as they take advantage of the nice weather,” Box added. “Getting out for a walk or a run will help you mentally and physically, and I strongly encourage that. But it can’t be business as usual. It can’t be a group of 20 people.”

Governor Eric Holcomb felt that his stay-at-home order has already had a tremendous positive impact on changing residents’ behavior, despite the wide range of industries deemed exempt.

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter stressed that no special documentation is needed for essential employees to travel to work. He said he got nine reports Wednesday of people being stopped by police for not staying home, but so far, he hadn’t been able to substantiate them. “If someone does feel like they’ve been targeted, they need to report that, and I would strongly recommend that that occurs,” Carter said. “This has been a real issue of concern to so many of our citizens around this great state, and we’ll continue to lean into that as much as we can.”

When it comes to deciding whether the stay-at-home order should be relaxed or extended, Governor Holcomb said he’d be listening to doctors, scientists, and law enforcement on the ground in Indiana.