The Porter County
Health Department (PCHD) is announcing that the unprecedented surge in
COVID-19 cases has finally pushed the county into the Red designation.
A county’s COVID
color status is determined by the average of two metrics: weekly cases per
100,000 residents; and seven-day all-tests positivity rate. A rate of 200 or
more new weekly cases per-100,000 residents is scored Red (on Sunday, Porter
County reported 861 new cases per 100,000). An all-tests positivity rate of
15 percent or higher is also scored Red (as of Nov. 7, the most recent date
for which data are available, Porter County reported an all-tests positivity
rate of 15.8 percent).
According to PCHD,
in a statement released on Sunday, “The high positivity rates are
over-taxing our hospitals. Quick and swift measures must be taken to slow
the spread and lower our COVID-19 cases.”
follows Gov. Eric Holcomb’s most recently issued executive order, which
provides for the following in counties with a Red designation:
gatherings of any kind, indoor or outdoor, are limited to 25 people.
-- Organizers of a
special seasonal or commercial event for which more than 25 people will be
in attendance must submit a plan to the local health department at least
seven days in advance and receive approval before proceeding. College and
professional sports are included. This requirement takes effect Sunday, Nov.
-- Face masks are
required for all Hoosiers. Businesses of any type are required to place
clearly visible signs at their public and employee entrances notifying all
that face coverings are required.
-- All customers in
restaurants and bars are required to be seated. Tables, counters, or other
seating arrangements must be spaced six feet apart.
executive order took effect on Sunday, Nov. 15 and remains in effect until
at least Saturday, Dec. 12. “We must do all we can to protect our hospital
capacity, so our healthcare professionals can protect and care for their
patients,” Holcomb said. “Not only for those who have COVID, but for the
cancer patient, the heart patient, and the other Hoosier patients who need
care in our urban, rural, and suburban hospitals all across the State of
PCHD is urging
residents to abide by the following measures:
foremost, individuals exhibiting symptoms of the virus, testing positive for
the virus, or exposed to a person with COVID-19 must stay home,” PCHD said.
“It is necessary to ensure social distancing from those not living in your
household, continue wearing face coverings, practice regular handwashing,
and eliminate social gatherings. PCHD strongly discourages gatherings with
anyone not in your household. This includes at bars and restaurants, before
and after sporting events, before and after services of faith, and getting
together with friends.”
this will be difficult,” PCHD said. “But family gatherings for birthdays,
weddings, and even Thanksgiving are strongly discouraged. Because of this,
PCHD is not permitting any gatherings over 25 people. Any events planned in
Porter County must contact PCHD to discuss safety protocols.”
“In addition to
limiting gatherings of family and friends, it is necessary to limit the
number of spectators at K-12 sporting events,” PCHD said. “At this time,
PCHD is limiting spectators to parents/guardians/siblings only who are
seated socially distanced from others. Concessions must be closed and water
should be provided to participants only. Masks must be worn at all times by
anyone not participating in strenuous activity. Staff or volunteer monitors
should be assigned to ensure compliance.”
Mask Up at
“As set forth in
the executive order, businesses are required to place clearly visible
signage at their public and employee entrances notifying that face coverings
are required for all individuals entering the business,” PCHD said.
“Businesses shall require employees to wear face coverings, and should only
admit those customers, clients, vendors, and other visitors who wear face
coverings unless exempted.”
Per the executive
order, all restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs, and other establishments
providing in-person food and/or drink service must adhere to the following
directives, PCHD said:
-- All patrons must
remain seated while consuming food and/or drink or when otherwise remaining
on the premises.
-- While capacity
limits are no longer based on a percentage of overall occupancy, seating
must be arranged and maintained so that individuals, households, or parties
are spaced at least six feet apart from any other individual, household, or
beverage and food stations (buffets, salad bars, etc.) are permitted but not
recommended unless a staff member serves patrons.
“PCHD will continue
to evaluate the source of positive tests and conduct targeting testing where
appropriate,” PCHD said. “Reducing the spread is a community-wide task. All
Porter County citizens must commit over the next several months to take
measures to reduce the community spread of COVID-19.”
“I am encouraged
that the Porter County community understands the gravity of this disease and
is working together for the common goal of saving lives and slowing spread
of COVID-19,” said Health Officer Dr. Maria Stamp.