Caine: Marion County’s goal of July 4 full reopening will depend on data

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Indianapolis’ goal of fully eliminating pandemic-related restrictions by Independence Day isn’t set in stone, local officials said Tuesday.

The city’s positivity rate, new confirmed cases, emergency department visits, hospital admissions and deaths have fallen dramatically from highs earlier in the pandemic, but the Marion County’s vaccination rate remains stubbornly lower than the rates in surrounding counties.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Department Director Virginia Caine announced the July 4 goal in a news conference May 19. Most of the remaining restrictions involve capacity at cultural, entertainment and tourism sites, fitness centers, libraries, bars and restaurants, and sporting events.

Asked Tuesday if the city would drop the last of its coronavirus restrictions by July 4, Caine said, “We are continuing to evaluate that and monitor our data.”

“[It’s] not for sure, yes,” she confirmed, speaking at a biweekly city-county COVID-19 update.

At 39%, Marion County has the lowest vaccination rate of eight central Indiana counties. More than 50% of people living in Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks and Hancock counties had gotten vaccinated as of June 13, according to data distributed by the Marion County Health Department.

In May, the county vaccinated 125,000 people, Caine said, with 75,000 being local residents.

The vaccination rate isn’t the only number the health department is using to make a decision on lifting restrictions.

“I’m looking at, ‘Wow, our hospitalizations are so low.’ Two, we’re not having [many] deaths. Three, we’re not seeing a lot of people come into the emergency rooms for COVID-19,” Caine said. “We’re trying to look at what’s happening across the country, other countries, what their experience has been and what their numbers have looked like when they’ve reopened in order for us to make a final decision.”

She and Hogsett emphasized the vaccine’s safety and health benefits for the vaccine-hesitant. Vaccinated residents make up less than 1% of the positive COVID-19 tests in Indiana and inoculated people that do get the virus are 100 times less likely to be hospitalized than those who haven’t gotten the shot, Hogsett said.The vaccine is also effective against the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus, especially for those who are fully vaccinated.

“Ultimately, making this decision to lift restrictions, it’s more complicated than looking at one metric in a vacuum, so [we’re] just not comfortable right today making that decision,” Caine said.

“We’re going to revisit all the data, and learn what we’ve learned from other communities, and hopefully we’ll have a positive decision the July 4 weekend, but we’ve still got two more weeks for, you know, trying to knock it out of the park with our vaccinations,” she added.

The City-County Council approved the area’s most recent health order on June 7, ending Indy’s mask mandate and loosening restrictions, but retaining some other restrictions.

The health department might not need to go back to the council in July to drop the remaining restrictions, said Paul Babcock, CEO of Health & Hospital Corp., because it would put Indianapolis in line with the rest of Indiana.

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24 thoughts on “Caine: Marion County’s goal of July 4 full reopening will depend on data

  1. Keep in mind this time last year, the learned “dr” Craine forgot there was a soccer team playing in the largest building in the city.

  2. Flatten the curve.
    Get enough vents and ICU beds.
    Wait until we develop a vaccine.
    Get below 5% positivity.
    Hold a press conference that makes no sense, instead of moving the goalposts again.
    Hogsett and Caine or Dumb and Dumber? Watch todays press conference and decide.

  3. I want to move out from under these dictators and their ridiculous reasoning for even considering to keep the covid restrictions. They need to research FL and other states who have opened and have not had the negative results that we supposedly have in Indy. I wonder if hospitals and doctors still receive a bonus for covid related patients and deaths. Conflict of interest! What does that paper pushing Dr Caine get out of this lockdown? Makes you wonder! The mayor needs to stop seeking advice from her. But actually he is the ultimate dictator. When is he out of office?

    1. and yet, without the 55% of GPD that our small marion county provides for the entire state…. Indiana would be a lot state within 3 months…

  4. Socialist Marxist Communist thrive on power and control.

    Caine and Hogsett find the power orgasmic how they can hold a community’s life hostage.

    Ignore them and live!

    1. Mr. Trump has employed thousands and generated millions in tax revenue to help pay the salaries of the likes of Hogsett and Caine, who have never had anything but political/ government jobs.
      I’ll back people who would rather us all live free over those who would like to rule like these two clowns. Please watch today’s press conference and decide if these are your heroes.

    2. Micheal, what happened to “follow the science!” The stoooooopid one is your political appointee “dr”

  5. It’s funny hearing Trump supporters call people on the left Marxist, Communist, ect. Your President literally tried to overturn a free and fair election. Your fellow MAGA followers participated in an insurrection. Your party is passing laws that allow State legislatures to overturn the will of the voters. The US government becoming an authoritarian regime is what your party wants. You don’t see that now, but that’s because you only trust right-wing media. Meanwhile, you’ll continue whining about “Communist” Democrats trying to protect public health, while completely sitting by and happily watching your party try to destroy our democratic system of government.

    1. Wesley don’t you have a recall to worry about in California instead of worrying about what goes on here in Indiana? And are black people too stupid to be able to figure out how to get an ID? Just a question because that seems to be with the Democrats are pushing

    2. The question is about why isn’t Marion Country completely opening up. Wes and the Libs have no rational argument so they pivot to “OMG!! The GOP Nazi’s are destroying the Republic!!” BTW Wes, the knuckle dragging Republican donut counties have vaccination rates well into the 50% range. Your fellow Democrats in Marion county are somewhere in the 30’s. Tell me again who is trying to protect public health?…

    3. Hi Rhea, thanks for the daily dose of racism/ignorance. It was unwanted, but I appreciate people showing who they really are. My comment had absolutely nothing to do with race, and I have no problem with voter ID, fyi. What I have a problem with is a state legislature that can overturn an election. And no, there is basically a 0% chance of the recall going anywhere, so I’m not concerned. I’ll vote by mail for Gov Newsom. It’s nice to live in a place where voting is so easy and doesn’t require me to stand in line for over an hour. Do you actually believe your own party is intelligent enough to see past the fact Caitlyn is trans? Or do you think they’re voting for the guy who has a bear as his running mate? Guess what, they’re going to lose.

      Chuck, it’s funny how you can’t address any of my actual points. You chose to pivot instead of addressing the fact that your party supported an insurrection, and an authoritarian leader. Keep whining about masks and vaccines. Btw, do you want Marion county to forcibly vaccinate people? The reason they are continuing more stringent public health measures is because the vaccination rate is too low. I’m assuming you don’t want forced vaccinations, right?

      Dustin, you’re not worth the time to address other than the one sentence I’m typing for you right now.

  6. OK – it’s time that Dr. Caine relieved of her position, but our weak-spined Mayor doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude. NO one elected her to be our Mayor. Dr. Caine has FAR TOO MUCH influence on Mayor Hogsett. BOTH need to be gone and our representatives on the City Council need to take back the county before these two completely ruin the reputation of Indianapolis and Marion County.

    1. Are you kidding about the city council? They’re just as stupid and gullible as the mayor is

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