UPDATE: Hogsett wants more collaboration with doughnut counties in COVID fight

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett on Thursday announced that he intends to ask public health leaders in Marion County and its doughnut counties in the metropolitan area to meet to form a regional approach for dealing with coronavirus.

Currently, Marion County is the only one in the metro with any public-health restrictions in place. The state has been operating for weeks in Phase 5, which comes with no capacity limits for public spaces, despite a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases across the state.

Hogsett said Thursday he’s often asked when large companies plan to bring workers back to downtown Indianapolis but that leaders tell him they’re not just watching Marion County’s numbers. It suggests that a regional approach to curbing COVID-19 might be necessary.

“Now more than ever we must recognize that we have a regional economy in the Indianapolis metropolitan area,” he said. “As such the public health strategies that will lead us to defeat this virus and set us on a path to recovery by their very nature need to be regional as well.”

In Boone and Hendricks counties, for example, the number of cases per 100,000 people has doubled in the past couple of weeks, Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department, said.

Hogsett said he hopes by convening health leaders from counties surrounding Marion that they can begin working on “what I hope will result in more regional collaboration on policies and practices that acknowledge our foe in this fight does not recognize county lines.”

He said neither he nor Caine have spoken with leaders in those counties about collaborating but will be reaching out over the next few days and weeks.

“I think it’s pretty logical to assume that if we are working together, it will make us stronger,” he said. “And obviously a regional approach is particularly important when you look at the economic effects the pandemic has had.”

Asked by IBJ about the potential for regional collaboration as described by Hogsett, Tom Ryan, Boone County’s public health emergency preparedness coordinator, said the county already was involved in a regional approach.

There are 10 preparedness districts through the state, and District 5 (Central Indiana) already includes Marion and its donut counties, Ryan said. Officials from that district, as well as representatives from the state, have been meeting once a month since COVID started to do things like balance available PPE across communities.

Given the fact that those meetings are already happening, Ryan was a bit confused by the mayor’s announcement.

“Those meetings are our time to provide updates, see what’s going on—as far as the response—and to determine what needs and resources there are,” Ryan said. “I’m not sure exactly where the mayor is coming from, but as a district, we’re obviously going to work with our district partners to do everything we can to support the community.”

Dr. Charles Harris, Hamilton County’s health officer, said that a regional COVID plan would be a “good approach,” but that it should include elected officials from counties, cities, towns and schools “to be effective and accepted at all levels of government.”

“We look forward to working further with our partners in all areas,” he said.

Ashley Elrod, spokeswoman for the city of Fishers, said neither the city’s health department nor the mayor’s office had been contacted yet, “but we always appreciate the opportunity for regional collaboration.”

Caine said Thursday there will be no changes to the current public health orders in Marion County and she reiterated the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large social gatherings, like weddings.

Bars and restaurants, museums, cultural sites, music venues, gyms and fitness centers and more remain limited to 50% capacity indoors.

Marion County’s positivity rate remains below 10% but is inching closer to the double-digit mark, which would require more restrictions.

“As it gets to double digits, that’s a major, major concern for us,” Caine said. “We’re hoping this positivity rate will very soon slow down and plateau, but it will all depend on consumer behavior. It all depends on all of us in our community.”

Caine and Hogsett also announced that the county will be working with the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health to increase the number of asymptomatic people getting tests in order to better surveillance the community for the disease. Specific details about how that will work weren’t provided.

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48 thoughts on “UPDATE: Hogsett wants more collaboration with doughnut counties in COVID fight

  1. That’s all we need is Joe Hogsett leading the economic demise of adjoining counties as he has demonstrated with his lack of leadership regarding downtown Indianapolis

    1. I have only screwed up the 17th largest city in the United States and think I can negatively impact the 8 doughnut counties just as effectively of course with the help of the governor.

  2. Hogsett wants more collaboration with doughnut counties on COVID.

    “Currently, Marion County is the only one in the metro with any public-health restrictions in place.”

    I’m sure the doughnut counties are fully willing to let Hogsett collaborate with them on a “regional approach” to open up Marion County if he wants to. 🙂

  3. Too little, too late. Don’t tread on the counties that are taking all the Marion County business because of your political fear-mongering. I can personally attest that Carmel and Fishers businesses are thriving with Marion County residents’ money and have been for 3-4 months now. We all know the dangers of the virus now. High-risk and elderly stay home. Young and healthy live your lives responsibly. Onward. Doughnut counties win; Marion County loses.

  4. So he wants to extend his tyranny, no. It is a flu virus. It can’t be stopped. Efforts have been able to slow it down to allow medical to keep up, but cases will rise, especially with more testing. Cases are the big buzzword now that deaths have come way down. CASES CASES CASES, BE AFRAID, PANIC!

  5. Joe seems like a nice guy in person but he’s out of his league, way over his head as Mayor. So is the current City-County Council. This is why he’s asking for ‘collaboration’ both on crime and COVID. The city is sinking quickly and it is heartbreaking to watch – especially the lack of resolve among city “leaders” to clean up downtown, let alone save lives in nearby neighborhoods that hear gunfire every night. I wish I had a blank check to support the businesses and community-focused non-profits trying to keep this city afloat until a vaccine is readily available.

  6. Oh wow, the anti-mask folks are out in the comments section this morning! Marion County has a lower case rate than the rest of the State as a whole. Shame on the mayor for wanting his citizens to not die from a mismanaged pandemic? Lol. If you’re all so sad about business restrictions that aren’t even strict, you need to knock on the White House door complain to your President. He is the reason we are in this mess. There is a virus. It isn’t going away right now. Look at the whole country and the world to see what’s happening. Just open your eyes. I can’t wait for Biden to be President. Hopefully he imposes national restrictions so all of you don’t get the rest of us sick.

    1. And of course, right after I typed that Indiana breaks another record for Covid-19 cases. 3,649 cases. Stage 5 is going super well, right? Hospitalizations are also up…

    2. With 99.9% survivability the “choice” you purport between dying and locking down is simply hysterical hyperbole. Congratulations to Marion County on the lower case rate! You win that contest. Yay!! Meanwhile, our local economies in the doughnut counties are flourishing and most everyone is doing quite well. For us, we have not created a cure worse than the problem. 🙂

    3. Do the math, MG. 96.4%, not 99.9%. And it is one of the handful of leading causes of death in the US, up from zero last year.

    4. It all be over on Wednesday the 4th, that is when the next scandal dejour starts the 2nd faux impeachment. No one understands the real numbers we are being given. There are cases of people that did the paper work that didn’t get test turning up positive, and cases of people in hospice care that were at end of life, test positive and listed as C-19 deaths. And if you test positive more than once are you 1 case, 2 cases or more? Once the Indiana Department of Health wants to provide accurate data with research level details we have no idea what we getting. The best indicator we have is C-19 ICU beds and C-19 ventilator use. 24.1 and 5.6 respectively. But even with that we need to understand the additional comorbidities that may be in play. Think for yourself people and turn the idiot box off.

  7. This will be his legacy in how he reacted to Covid, the riots, and continued business restrictions. So sad how pathetic he and other politicians reacted. I guarantee you if he had ever owned just one business,he never would have castrated the business owners like he did. You actually would have had to have known the pain and risk already on a business owner during the good times before knowing how to lead during difficult times like Covid and the negligent and criminal decisions he gave during the riots. YOU DESERVE THIS LEGACY JOE AND YOU DUG YOUR OWN POLITICAL GRAVE.

  8. The mayor is a nice guy–I have met him on several occasions over the years and we share a lot of mutual acquaintances. However, he is trained attorney and may lack the firsthand ability to evaluate conjoint scientific and economic data, which is acceptable. However, he surrounded himself with people who also won’t or don’t perform said analysis. I believe that this has driven remarkably poor policy decisions on the mayor’s part. Look at the NY Times Indiana Covid map and case count on a per-capita basis. Marion County has 2,760 cases per 100,000 people. Hamilton County has 1,945. Hendricks County has 2,060. Johnson count has 2,145. Boone County has 1,981, etc. Marion County is at about 20% greater in cases per 100,000 residents than the doughnut counties, despite the remarkable limitations that the mayor has installed. Population density does not appear to matter. Fort Wayne, the second largest city in the state, has a greater population density per square mile than Indianapolis and has a case rate per 100,000 that is about 15% lower. Here’s the canary in the coal mine for the mayor: when Huse Culinary, arguably one of the top restaurant operators in the region, can’t work through the pandemic under the mayor’s orders with Burger Study, what does that mean for the less successful restaurant operators? They are gone. Look at the retail and restaurant vacancies across the city–even the wealthier parts of the city around 86th street and Meridian. Why don’t you see the same outcomes in the doughnut counties? Drive the major thoroughfares in Fishers Carmel, Noblesville, Brownsburg or Greenwood. They are bustling. The administrative mandates coming from the mayor’s office are the observable difference. Why would any administrator in the doughnut counties rationally want to follow the mayor’s lead, particularly when objective data analysis indicates the abject failure of the mayor’s approach? However, if the mayor wants to take lessons from the doughnut counties, he has my support to do that.

  9. No doubt involving the doughnut counties with Hogsett’s numb skull leadership is step one. Step two will be to include them in some tax scheme to fund all his other failed policies. Just go away Joe. And stay in your cave.

  10. Joe just wants the donut counties to be equally as miserable as Marion. He continues to tank the small business owner and wants donut counties to do the same. Nice try.

  11. Uncle joe is broke and this is the first attempt to get his trunk under the tent for money. This guy is radio active. Touch him and your toast. Joe stay the hell away.

  12. I don’t understand this. If people are afraid to eat out because they are getting sick and dying, the doughnut counties are going to suffer anyway. The question become, how many people do you let die.

    Losing 8% of your population through a deadly disease is going cause a world of economic hurt. That is part of why the stock market is tanking now. Loss of population causes huge economic contractions.

    1. Dan, the fallacy in your reasoning is that 8% of the population is not actually dying. The death rate across the measured population is not even close to 8%. You may find value in researching this and updating your views accordingly.

    2. Michael P., you replied to Dan M. much more diplomatically than I would have. 🙂 Are you kidding me Dan?? What kind of lies are you peddling and hysterics do you seek to drum up? Your thought process is astonishingly illogical and fraught with outright falsehoods.

    3. We won’t lose 8% of the population, but his point is accurate. Losing people causes economic problems. Look at Japan’s economic issues due to low birth rates. The more we lose, the worse it gets for everyone economically, and obviously personally. There’s also economic damage caused from the long term health effects of the disease. There’s also the fact that the US is now losing more of it’s citizens to other countries than before. Don’t worry, I’ll be one of those leaving if Trump wins. Then you guys can keep making America great on your own. I’ll make sure to renounce my citizenship though so you can’t keep milking my tax dollars.

    4. I’m glad you get a laugh from it man. It’s not TDS though. It’s just facing the reality of how bad of a place our country is in. That’s all. Just observing behavior and statistics.

    5. Per the JAMA (for what ever that is worth) global deaths in the last 12 months are on par with previous years. So the question is, are more people dying because of C-19 or just being labeled as C-19?

      Although total US death counts are remarkably consistent from year to year, US deaths increased by 20% during March-July 2020. COVID-19 was a documented cause of only 67% of these excess deaths. JAMA 10-12-20

    1. Don’t worry, someone will buy your house and you’ll make a significant amount of money because demand for Marion County homes is extremely high. Won’t be a ghost town, you’ll just be replaced with more liberal neighbors.

  13. Great, Wesley; you are going to leave if Trump wins? Promise? How many liberal elites and Hollywood cry-babies said they would leave if Trump won in 2016? How many actually did so? Even one would be appreciated. And if you are so worried about “the more we lose” and our allegedly shrinking population, where do you stand on abortion on demand? We’ve killed over 60,000,000 United States citizens since 1973, many of whom could now be making significant contributions to our culture, yet you liberals endorse the practice and even expect taxpayers to finance it!

    1. Well I wasn’t one of those people in 2016, I wanted to give the man a chance. He’s just simply failed at his job, and I don’t want to stick around for further destruction. Your abortion comment is illogical. Eggs and fetuses have never contributed to society. Sure, they may have the potential to had they been born, but the vast majority of abortions are preformed because of financial insecurity. The most impoverished members of society tend to not move up the social latter. That’s not an opinion, just a fact. It shouldn’t be, but that’s what the GOP did to the middle class in this country. So by your President’s definition, you’d probably call them all welfare queens if they were alive today. There’s a difference between termination of a pregnancy and an adult human dying unnecessarily. If you can’t see the difference, that’s on you.

  14. To change the subject, last time I looked Hamilton county had the highest COVID-19 increases. So much for Carmel, Noblesville and Fishers for doing their virus prevention job.

  15. Joe, haven’t you done enough harm in Marion County? Downtown is a disaster and it’s not going to come back for years. I live in Hamilton County and work in Downtown Indy, but I never leave my building. Please just leave the doughnut counties alone.

  16. When Pothole and Virginia have taken pay cuts and furloughed personal staff, maybe we can have a conversation. Until then take your chicken nuggets back to the kiddie table.

  17. Sorry, Wesley, but your logic fails. You have no way of knowing what a given child may “turn out” to be; read the history of Dr. Ben Carson’s life for an excellent example. Talk about a racist slant; your post bleeds it. To your closing statement, in both cases, a human being dies, period. If you can’t see that difference, that’s on you…not to mention the damage done to a culture that blatantly ignores the God-given responsibility to protect the most innocent among us. Some day, that might include you in your old age.

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