Gov. Holcomb and state health commissioner celebrate arrival of COVID vaccines
There is a lot of optimism in efforts to combat the coronavirus, given the fact two approved vaccines have arrived in the Hoosier state to begin safeguarding frontline healthcare workers against infection.
But during a weekly televised COVID update on Tuesday, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and state health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box warned the public not to take on a false sense of security that the virus is under control.
For a second straight day, positive cases reported in Indiana fell below the 4,000 mark.
For the first time in weeks, Allen County has had its "red zone" designation removed, indicating less severe spread of COVID-19.
But there were 143 coronavirus deaths reported statewide Tuesday, putting the total in Indiana since the beginning of the pandemic over 7,200.
There have been some long days for healthcare workers and others during the pandemic and there will be more long days ahead for members of the Indiana National Guard.
Governor Holcomb called for more than 1,300 Indiana National Guard men and women to serve through the end of 2020 in the state's long-term care facilities, to help with that at-risk population.
The governor Tuesday announced the guard's role in those settings will be extended through the month of February.
"They've been a godsend, quite frankly, and we hear from these long-term care centers, saying, we don't want you to leave, we're really kind of hitting our groove right now. It's good teamwork. They're helping with screening and helping with some of the clerical functions and so, so much more," Governor Holcomb said.
The Pfizer vaccine has been administered to frontline healthcare workers across Indiana, including in Fort Wayne.
Now, health officials are excited that doses of the Moderna vaccine have arrived and additional shipments are on the way.
"In just a week's time, we have received not one, but two vaccines to help protect Hoosiers from this disease. It truly is the hope that we all need," said Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the Indiana State Department of Health's Chief Medical Officer.
By January 4, health officials expect to see about 91,000 Hoosiers vaccinated against the coronavirus.
State health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box revealed Tuesday that a coding error in calculating the state's COVID positivity rate will be corrected, and once that happens, the positivity rate will go up statewide by 2 to 3 percentage points.
But the governor and Dr. Box insist that nothing would have changed in terms of strategies employed to fight the virus with or without the coding error.