Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb urged Hoosiers living in COVID-19 “hotspots” to stay home, although he stopped short of saying he’s looking broadening his stay-at-home order to include trips to other states.
Holcomb’s remarks came a day after the chief medical officer at Baptist Health Floyd in New Albany dubbed Floyd County a “hotspot” for the respiratory illness. Dr. Jayakrishnakamal Konijeti said at least 50 people have tested positive and hundreds more tests are pending; official state data says there are 21 positive cases in the county.
Konijeti said he and Floyd County’s health officer Dr. Tom Harris are concerned that residents aren’t taking Holcomb’s order to stay home seriously.
“I would just ask anyone who is in a hotspot right now – don’t be traveling,” Holcomb said. “Self-isolate yourself and push back the travel to a different time.”
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued an order Monday directing Kentuckians not to travel to other states, including Indiana, except for limited reasons such as work. Holcomb said he’s in routine contact with Beshear and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, but he isn’t considering a similar ban for Hoosiers.
“We’ve shared thoughts concerning travel, etc., but we’re not looking at that at this time in Indiana,” he said.
In a wide-ranging online briefing from Indianapolis, Holcomb said he plans to update the state’s timeline for school closures in the next two days, a move that may determine whether students will return to their classrooms any time soon.
Holcomb said he and Jennifer McCormick, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, would make an announcement in the next 48 hours. The governor has ordered schools closed until May 1.
Public health officials believe Indiana is about to have a surge in COVID-19 cases, with peak infections between mid-April and mid-May. Holcomb cautioned that a decision on reopening schools and easing restrictions on businesses likely be made some time after new cases start to drop.
“What we don’t want to do is be premature about reflexively jumping back after we hit that peak and come down and appear to be,” he said. “Because you’ve seen around the world that it’ll slope back up again.”
He said “the numbers will drive when we make these decisions.”