Holcomb not planning new pandemic restrictions despite surge in cases

Eric Holcomb

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday afternoon said he was not planning to impose new restrictions or move the state back to a prior stage of its pandemic recovery plan. The announcement came amid growing rumors that he planned to do so because of record COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state.

At the beginning of his weekly press briefing, Holcomb addressed a rumor that he would be returning the state to Stage 1—which involved the stay-at-home orders and the most restrictions—and that he would mandate schools operate on a completely virtual basis.

“No truth to that whatsoever,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb, a Republican, won his reelection bid Tuesday night over Democratic challenger Woody Myers and Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater.

In the days leading up to the election, some believed Holcomb would reverse course after securing a second term. Holcomb moved the state to Stage 5, which has essentially no restrictions other than a mask mandate without penalties, in late September.

Since then, positive COVID-19 case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations have gone up.

Holcomb said the rumors are “not helpful” and “counter-productive.”

“We don’t want Hoosiers to be misled,” Holcomb said.

During the campaign, Rainwater criticized Holcomb for imposing any restrictions on the state, while Myers argued that Holcomb needed to be doing more to contain the spread of the virus.

Holcomb said on Wednesday that the election has not affected his decision-making process.

“We’re making decisions based on the common good,” Holcomb said. “It has zero to do with political capital or election results with me.”

Holcomb said he didn’t feel statewide restrictions would be effective and preferred to take a more localized approach when outbreaks occur in different regions. He said he would only consider broader restrictions if the state began seeing major issues with its “capacity to care.”

The Indiana State Department of Health on Wednesday reported 3,756 new COVID-19 cases, an all-time high in the department’s daily report. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 rose from 1,867 on Monday to an all-time high of 1,897 on Tuesday.

COVID-19 deaths have reached or topped 25 for nine straight days and have been in double digits 27 times over the past 29 days.

The department said the seven-day moving average for cases reached another all-time high of 3,245.

The state’s health commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, said Wednesday that the biggest challenge for the state right now is “having enough staffing”to deal with the pandemic. “The greatest strain, perhaps, is on our hospital workforce, which has been dealing with this for nine months. And frankly, they’re exhausted.”

Box urged people to volunteer through SERV-IN, a statewide electronic registration system of medical and non-medical volunteers.

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14 thoughts on “Holcomb not planning new pandemic restrictions despite surge in cases

    1. Lorna, purchase yourself a bubble suit or better yet 40 acres in the middle of nowhere and live happily ever after.

    2. It in no way impacts my livelihood. I do have compassion for those affected by lockdowns. Just stay home, you are safe and secure in your own life.

  1. With COVID surging, more people dying, and the Governor retreating on precautions, our extended family is considering cancellation of our once-a-year Christmas get-together. I urge the Governor to put life and families and our economy first by at least mandating masks with penalties for those who are uncaring and not wearing them.

    When Mayor Hogsett had enough of people not wearing masks, he levied penalties and the results were immediate. EVERYONE at the grocery was suddenly wearing masks – unlike the previous 30-40% who were not. That minority should not be able to endanger the lives and livelihoods of the rest of us who are being responsible.

    1. It in no way impacts my livelihood. I do have compassion for those affected by lockdowns. Just stay home, you are safe and secure in your own life.

    2. If the mask mandates after EVERYONE wore them was so great, why is there a surge in cases? Skip your once-a-year family together to be assured your group makes the sacrifices you deem so important for others to enact.

  2. I think your record is stuck Susie. Flip it over to the other side and let’s hope it is better. Glad to hear over and over again it doesn’t affect your livelihood.

  3. Let me understand the logic of the State response to the surging pandemic: Stage 5 is okay. Our focus, per Dr. Box, is to increase the amount of healthcare staff and healthcare capacity to take care of the increasing number of sick people. Oh by the way, please wear you mask, pretty please!! ( I love it when Health Commissioner, who recently got over COVID-19 episode, has only this to offer to curb the raging pandemic in our State.

    As I have said before our State needs outside expertise (e.g. Dr. Anthony Fauci) to tell us citizens the REAL status of our State’s current plan to mitigate the pandemic of our State. The current “experts” from State outside of government (e.g. IU) have done little more than to create a bunch of numbers that are totally not understood by the common lay person.

    There needs to a ground swell of outrage from the medical community (i.e. hospital, physicians, medical organizations, nursing organization, pharmacists, etc.) to force a change in how our State is handling the pandemic.

    The State has the money to finance, through the Care ACT, to fund a more comprehensively plan to provide all the necessary tools (PPE, testing, contact tracing, etc.) to get the situation under control.

    A responsible government would be able to balance the economy AND public health. Indiana appears not to be able to multi-task. A responsible State government would be able to do both. (As a small business owner, I have lost at least 50% of my income for the year. I know the financial consequences of the pandemic. It took months as the beginning to obtain the necessary amount of PPE to keep my employees and customers safe. I have been able to keep the staff intact as well. However, one does not know what the future will bring.)

    Hopefully, with the election over for the State, our local leaders will begin to multi-task. Frankly, I do not expect any progress. With the flu season beginning and with more indoor events, we need to expect that things are just going to get worse.

    Everyone for our State should realize that our current situation was avoidable. Letting things get worse by this State’s administration is UNCONSCIONABLE and INDEFENSIBLE.

  4. Thank you for your input Phillip T. I hope your employees/ customers remain safe. It is hard to believe that we still don’t have the necessary PPE, no excuse for this.

  5. Maybe a deluge of letters/emails to Governor Holcomb. Thought he was doing well for a while. A mandate for masks would be ideal, not saying please wear masks. Since he won re-election, stand up and mandate masks, take the state back to at least 4 Stage. PLEASE ACT GOVERNOR!

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