Indiana state health commissioner tests positive for COVID-19 for second time

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Dr. Kristina Box (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box has tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing chills, muscle aches and a sore throat, the state health department announced Wednesday morning.

It marks the second time in 15 months that Box, who has overseen the state’s response to the pandemic, has tested positive for COVID.

The health department said Box tested positive Tuesday morning through a rapid test and is recovering from home. The department did not say whether Box would continue to run the department while recovering, or if the duties would temporarily be handed to another administrator.

Box, 64, also received a PCR test, which will be sent for sequencing to determine whether she has been infected with the Omicron strain.

Box is fully vaccinated and received a booster dose in November, the health department said. She is one of an estimated 113,000 Hoosiers to suffer a breakthrough case since Jan. 18, 2021.

Indiana is seeing another surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the highly contagious omicron variant begins to sweep across the state. On Tuesday, the state reported 8,533 new cases and a seven-day positivity rate of 20.5 percent.

Box, an obstetrician-gynecologist who was appointed health commissioner in 2017 by Gov Eric Holcomb, was experiencing symptoms including muscle aches, chills, coughing and a sore throat and is isolating at home, the health department said.

She plans to follow the isolation guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which call for her to isolate for five full days and allow her to return to work fully masked on the sixth day if her symptoms are improving.

Box previously tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2020. The health department said an estimated 15,000 Hoosiers have become reinfected with COVID-19.

On Dec. 29, Box appeared at a press briefing, along with Holcomb and Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the department’s chief medical officer, to update the public about the omicron variant. She predicted cases would rise over the next two months.

“We are once again facing a very bleak situation with this pandemic,” she said.

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26 thoughts on “Indiana state health commissioner tests positive for COVID-19 for second time

  1. Stop calling these breakthrough cases – junk vaccines, junk boosters…especially for Omicron variant. Have you seen the data for the numbers of those with natural immunity who have become reinfected? Relatively nil in comparison, all variants included.

    1. That is not accurate. Unvaccinated people are twice as likely to be come re-infected than vaccinated individuals, per CDC study in 2020.

    2. Cindy H you did not read carefully. I said that those with NATURAL IMMUNITY are much much less likely to become reinfected versus those who have been fully vaccinated and even boosted. I did not say so for the UNVACCINATED. That is a different group which would include all of those who have yet to be infected at all – not the same!

    3. Cindy. Really? a 2020 study. Tell me another funny about something the science said in 2020 about Covid that was accurate? 15 Days to flatten the curve. Stop my side hurts. And I am fully vaxed and boosted. Just believe this whole thing has been a S%&t show. Way too much politics on both sides.

  2. Indeed, M G; right on. I’ve been vaxed twice and once more with the booster, so have no problems with them. But they were never intended, nor did reasonable people claim, they would prevent a person from getting COVID. A person may still get it; it just won’t be as severe. “Breakthrough” implies that the vaccine was supposed to be a impenetrable firewall and never get through, which is ridiculous.

    1. Bob – Oddly enough, a “reasonable” person did in fact claim exactly that. Unless of course, you do not consider the President a “reasonable” person.

      During a July 2021 CNN town hall, U.S. President Joe Biden falsely stated that “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” and “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.”

  3. No one has said that you will not get the Omicron variant given its high infectious rate. The vaccine is to help ensure that you do not need to be hospitalized if you do become infected. This has always been the primary goal of the vaccine/booster.

    1. Mark T. That has not always been the goal NOR the message, but you are correct nevertheless. However, Omicron is the sniffles anyway, so no need for the mases to be vaccinated against something like this.

  4. MG has a point which seems to always be silenced. Healthy people with natural God-blessed immunity are less likely to be infected. The shot is technically not a vaccine since vaccines have taken years to develop and become guaranteed barriers against disease. Covid is not a disease, it is a virus. Feel free to get all the shots and boosters if you believe it will protect you from becoming severely ill or out of the hospital. It is a choice. The statistics about unvaccinated people are twice as likely to become infected does not prove true. The CDC has recalled and corrected its studies many times. The bar continues to move at warp speed for any agenda the government dictates.

  5. First of all, I am sorry for anyone who has suffered from COVID-19. I hope that the Dr. Box only has a mild case, recovers quickly, and does not develop any Covid related problems in the months ahead.
    However, there is an additional challenge to us in the public audience. Here is a high profile political and public health official who has suffered two episodes of Covid-19 and also has been fully vaccinated and boosted. How might this been interpreted by some members of the public?
    (As a reminder, by any assessment, Indiana’s current status with the COVID-19 pandemic is just terrible, i.e. new cases hitting new records, the healthcare system is overwhelmed, low vaccination rate (52%), etc. etc.)
    Some in our community might/will interpret the situation of our Public Health Commissioner as evidence that vaccinations are useless and might even go further and indicate that any mitigation efforts (e.g. wearing a mask, social distancing, hand sanitation, etc.) are useless as well.
    Yes, the Governor has extended the public health emergency for another months. He has not made vaccinations, masks, or any other type of Covid mitigation rules. It is nothing more than a bunch of “Please, Please, and Please.” In addition, the Indiana legislature is working quickly to pass laws to prevent businesses from requiring vaccinations. In other words: NO PLAN, NO LEADERSHIP.
    Once our State Health Commissioner recovers, I would suggest that she hold a press conference and provide some detail of her potential exposures to explain this latest episode of Covid. Was she following all the rules that she has been preaching? Was she wearing the proper mask? Was she wearing the mask correctly? Was she wearing a mask at social gatherings? Was she around individuals who were not vaccinated? If she was not following all of the current mitigation recommendations, she should make it clear to the public. We are all human and can make mistakes. However, when you are in the public eye all of the time, especially in her position as State Health Commissioner, you have a bigger set of responsibilities. If mistakes were made, admit it and plead with the public not to make the same mistakes. Unfortunately, I do not believe that this suggestion is going to happen. She will return work, and it will just be business as usual.
    Phillip D. Toth, MD, FACP

  6. I have an idea, let’s beat a dead horse until it comes back to life. Obviously the CDC and the Washington administration has no real idea or ideal of what to do. The virus is also obviously in charge, not us humans. The vaccine seems to keep us from dying once reinfected, and most without the vaccine seem to get much sicker once infected. In case you all forgot, before the vaccine was developed, everyone was wearing masks and even nitrile gloves, not to mention staying home and not going out. The virus still ran rampant! It seems that all of us will eventually get the virus before it begins it’s decline. Keep beating that dead horse, it’s good exercise while waiting to get infected, again.

  7. A polio vaccine prevents you from getting polio, my polio is not a little less it it zero.

    The mRNA shot is not a vaccine or “vaccinated” people would not be getting the virus. The mRNA inoculation is little more than the annual flue shot. The 200% increase in deaths of 18-65 year olds and other wise health individuals is concerning.
    See information from CEO of One America Life i
    Insurance for more information.

    1. Don’t worry about the polio, Steve. It’s going to make a comeback, there’s a bill in the Indiana House that will make even polio vaccinations optional for school children.

      Also, compare the uptake of the polio vaccine to the uptake of the COVID vaccine. I wasn’t born but I am unable to find historical records of 40% of the population refusing the vaccine, even after an issue with the first polio vaccine that led to some people getting polio from the vaccine. Apparently not ending up in an iron lung was motivation enough.

  8. April G… Just couldn’t wait to get a dig in about masks, could you? I have news for you… the only thing right now standing between you and having your kids home with you for the next month or so is the masks they are wearing and the masks their teachers are wearing, since so many Hoosiers are choosing personal selfishness over social responsibility as per getting the vax. School staffing is barely above the minimum to keep the schools in-person and open now and you better hope that mitigating the virus by masking works unless you want to be up close and personal with your kids soon.

    1. What about those of us who simply don’t feel we have any right or business barking commands at others? I got the vax but couldn’t give two hoots what other people do with their lives and their bodies. Masks are for morons in my opinion; even the laughable legacy media is admitting that all but M95 masks are useless (and even those have nothing more than a nominal use).
      And the act of wearing a mask while in the open-air outdoors is a person publicly announcing that they are cowardly and unquestioning…but I would never tell a person to take off his/her mask. It’s their right and their body. (Given the garbage being taught at schools right now, I’d even concede masks to the lunatics running the asylums; we should pick our battles and masks are a minor one). Conversely, I’ve been lectured by the Branch Covidians on numerous occasions–their moral order in their opinion supersedes mine. Because they are every bit the equivalent of religious fundamentalists.

      I guess your version of selfishness is righteous and mine isn’t? Good to know. You’re obviously a MUCH better caste of humanity than me. Keep thrusting your finger at others, calling them selfish by not responding to your every beck and call. Truly a saint among men. A pat on the head and a soy latte for you.

    2. So you’re going to lecture others while at the same time admitting you judge others based on if they’re wearing a mask. Could be a an immunocompromised cancer patient, for all you know, or one of those people who actually medically can’t get vaccinated. Please, go on about your superiority some more.

      By the way, “Lauren”, I enjoyed your previous work under previous handles.

    3. Bravo Lauren B….loved your post. Oh, and Joe B., we all have our opinions and Lauren was just stating hers. Her point, if you’d calm yourself down a moment, is that she is not forcing her opinion onto others in the form of demands for everyone to conform to her actions (get vaxxed! wear your mask! etc.)! Big difference. You definitely need that latte. 😉

    4. Waiting for the prospective peer reviewed studies and data around masks Joe.

      Slowly the narrative is collapsing.

      CDC Director Rochelle Walensky admitted that over 75% of “COVID deaths” occurred in people “who had at least four comorbidities. So really, these are people who are unwell to begin with.”

      I’ve been asking for 2 years now: show us the data with transparency.

      Vaxism and Fear Porn as Ryan H. calls it.

    5. JCB, since Biden can’t make good on his repeated pledge to “shut down the virus!”, suddenly all of this data is getting shared publicly (mask efficacy, vaccine failure, narrow risk profile). Not hard to connect those dots!

      Any of us who have done our own research by reading the studies knew this long ago – you just won’t find it on social media or by “Googling” as Joe likes to tell us to do, because they have censored all of this information and any doctor or politician who has attempted to calm the fears by posting such statistics have been silenced!