during which the state’s confirmed deaths with COVID-19 illnesses stood at
The state health
department has reported at least 600 new coronavirus infections per day for
the past week. Box said that number could continue to grow as more testing
“When we start to
open up, we expect to see more cases, which will bring more contact tracing
about,” Box said.
department and call center staffers will largely take over the tracing from
county health departments, some of which Box said have been swamped by large
outbreaks of cases.
The state’s $43
million contract is for a year with Virginia-based Maximus, which provides
services for health care and other programs for many states and the federal
government. Box said the company was selected from among seven that
submitted proposals because of its ability to start the tracing program
quickly and its experience with the state.
The contact tracing
program follows Tuesday’s announcement that another contractor will open 50
coronavirus testing sites around the state in the coming weeks, with the aim
of testing 100,000 people within 30 days. That’s more than the some 91,500
tests reported to the state health department since coronavirus testing
began in early March as Indiana has trailed national testing rates.
gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers said the state must have more COVID-19
testing in place and see hospitalization, intensive care unit admissions and
death rates decline over a period of weeks before easing up on restrictions.
Myers is a doctor who was Indiana’s state health commissioner during the
1980s AIDS crisis.
coronavirus task force in the White House has said that you need to see a
sustained drop over a couple weeks,” Myers said. “We’re certainly nowhere
near that today.”
Holcomb has not
specified his planned modifications but indicated more workplaces and
businesses could reopen while under guidelines such as requiring masks,
additional spacing between employees and frequent cleanings.
State officials are
considering information such as hospitalization and death rates, along with
the availability of intensive care unit beds and ventilators for those who
are seriously ill, in deciding whether to lift any restrictions, Holcomb
“We’re going to
have positive cases month after month after month after month after month,”
Holcomb said. “It’s how we manage our way through this. It’s how we have the
ability to care for those folks who are in need.”
The Indiana State
Department of Health (ISDH) was reporting this morning 44 additional deaths
from COVID-19 over the last 24 hours (63 additional deaths on Wednesday),
for a total to date of 1,007.
Add to that number
107 probable deaths--those for which x-rays, scans, and clinical symptoms
all point to COVID-19 but for which no positive test is on record--and C-19
deaths in Indiana total 1,114.
ISDH was also
reporting 669 new confirmed C-19 cases (605 new cases on Wednesday), for a
total of 17,835, up from 17,182 on Wednesday. Those 669 new cases represent
an increase of 4 percent over the last 24 hours.
The latest state
statistics showed 571 COVID-19 patients were in the intensive care units of
Indiana hospitals and that 43% of ICU beds remained available as of Tuesday.
That’s 25 more coronavirus patients in those ICUs than Monday, but 50 fewer
than last Thursday.