Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced during a virtual press conference today that Indiana will continue in Stage 5 of the Back on Track plan for another month.
The stage, which includes a mask mandate, will continue until Nov. 14. Holcomb said this decision comes as the state's COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.
"In less than a month, our positivity rate has moved from under 4 percent to where it sits today at 5.3 percent. We've had a record high number of positive cases reported, and, more concerning, the number of hospitalizations is increasing at a level we have not seen since the spring," Holcomb said.
The governor expressed frustration at the fact that some Hoosiers are disregarding the state mask mandate and other safety precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus.
"Those decisions, or lack thereof good decisions, are affecting our quality of life both short-term and long-term. There's so much about this virus we don't know on every age group, so we want to make sure that as we are going through each and every day underscoring the fact that, again, it is our actions or our inactions. And our inactions are costing -- just to be blunt -- healthcare, lost wages, business failures. Don't kid yourself. We're all paying this bill. The bill is coming due, and throwing caution to the wind ultimately ends up costing us all," Holcomb said.
During the conference, Dr. Kristina Box, the Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner, announced virtually that she, her daughter, and her grandson all have tested positive for the virus.
Box said her daughter and grandson are mildly symptomatic, but she is not currently experiencing any symptoms.
Box encouraged people to continue to be vigilant in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
"I just want to ask Hoosiers to make sure that you listen to the governor and listen to Dr. (Lindsay) Weaver (ISDH chief medical officer) and what they're saying because our numbers are not good, and they're very concerning. And it's especially concerning to me to see what's happening in our hospitals in areas around the state. So please be careful. Please, please be responsible," Box said.