Governor Extends Stay-At-Home Order To May 1
State officials pushed the projected peak of COVID-19 cases in Indiana from this week to early May, crediting a lower than expected rate of infection to Hoosiers “hunkered down” at home and flattening the curve of the disease’s spread.
Analysts now predict the surge will hit Marion County in late April and the rest of the state in early May.
But Dr. Troy Abbottt of Anderson said the gathering of families for church on the Easter would likely cause additional infections.
“We’re still in the woods,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said in extending his Stay At Home order until May 1 “But the good news is that we can see the clearing ahead. And it’s only because of the efforts we (Hoosiers made in) managing that surge.”
Holcomb said he would review by the end of this week his executive order closing down non-essential businesses. The order is set to expire near the end of the month.
“And what we do know is we need these essential businesses, whether it’s meat or medicine, to be up and running. We can’t allow ourselves to fall in a situation where our national supplies are threatened,” Holcomb said, following news of a coronavirus outbreak at a South Dakota meat processing plant.
Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, cautioned against reading too much into low infection numbers from the holiday weekend but said the revisions of the predicted peak reflected successful social distancing.
“What this also means is that we can’t relax our guard; social distancing is still absolutely critical to our overall goal,” Box said.
Nationally, President Donald Trump has pushed to reopen businesses as quickly as possible, which health experts warn could bring a second wave of the virus.
“I think the president has Hoosiers’ best interest in mind. I don’t think he wants, nor do I, to act prematurely by getting back to work,” Holcomb said. “We have to be able to respond in real time to what those actual needs are, so we’ll continue to work with the (Trump) administration as we have.”
Holcomb and Box both stressed that their executive orders and COVID-19 peak predictions might not match orders and projections from the Trump administration.
“I think our surge doesn’t match up with theirs because our surge predictions are based much more specifically on Indiana numbers alone,” Box said. “I really do believe that we have not seen the peak of that surge yet. But I do believe it will be a lot lower, which is the result of very strict guidelines and requirements that we’ve had for social distancing in the state.”
Holcomb said the state’s coronavirus infection numbers over the next few days, as well as conversations with governors of bordering states, would inform his decisions moving ahead.
“We don’t want to … make a call prematurely and go through this again,” the governor said. “That would be even worse.”