Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) upgraded Porter County’s COVID-19
status from Red to Orange on Nov. 25, the Porter County Health Department (PCHD)
has “determined that additional COVID metrics warrant the need for
additional restrictions to slow the spread of the virus,” PCHD said in a
statement released on Friday.
“The metrics used
by ISDH to determine the color code of the county only include the number of
new weekly cases per 100,000 and the all-test positivity rate,” PCHD said.
“These metrics have been skewed by the Thanksgiving holiday, where there was
decreased availability for testing, decreased demand for testing, and a
backlog of tests at the labs around the state.”
"We will not be
able to accurately use these two metrics to determine the true burden of
COVID in Porter County for a couple of weeks, and maybe not even until the
New Year, when the holidays come to a close,” Porter County Health Officer
Dr. Maria Stamp said. “Accordingly, we are looking at additional metrics to
determine what actions are needed, including the impacts on our hospitals
and the number of deaths.”
systems have been extremely stressed over the past three weeks,” PCHD said.
“Over one-third of patients admitted to hospitals are suffering COVID. Over
one-half of ventilators are in use treating COVID patients. There are
frequent diversions to other hospitals for care of patients. These burdens
are also contributing to staff shortages to provide care for patients.”
County residents died of COVID-19 in November, accounting for 43 percent of
all deaths to date. In just the first three days of December, 15 additional
deaths have been reported.
all of these metrics, I have determined that additional actions must be
taken to slow the spread of the virus,” Stamp said. “As authorized by
Executive Order 20-48, I have issued an order to implement those actions.”
actions went into effect at 12 a.m. Sunday and will remain in effect until
superseded or rescinded, PCHD said:
gatherings and events shall be limited to 25 persons. All gatherings and
events with more than 25 persons will need PCHD approval. These include
special or seasonal events, concerts or musical performances, movie
screenings, fairs, festivals, weddings, wedding receptions, convocations,
and sporting events. Event safety plans must be submitted to PCHD at least
seven days in advance of the event.
-- Gov. Holcomb’s
mask mandate remains in full force and effect for both employees and patrons
of any establishment required to wear a mask that fully covers both the nose
and the mouth. Businesses are expected to enforce mask use by patrons by
posting appropriate signs and designating staff to ensure that masks are
worn prior to entrance. Those unable to wear a mask are strongly urged to
wear a face shield or utilize curbside pickup or delivery options.
-- Indoor and
outdoor capacity for bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues must be
governed strictly by COD social distancing guidelines. Tables must be
arranged such that separate parties are seated at least six feet from other
parties. Masks must be worn unless seated for the purpose of eating and
drinking. Food and drink consumption may not take place unless seated. Dance
floors are to be closed. Musicians and singers must be masked. Self-service
buffets and salad bars are to be closed. Maximum party size at individual
tables in restaurants, bars, and clubs shall be no greater than six. Bars,
dine-in restaurants, and clubs shall adhere to an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. closure
establishments shall be limited to 50 percent capacity. Shopping carts must
be sanitized between uses and curbside pickup is preferred.
-- Gyms and fitness
studios, including locker rooms, shall be subject to strict adherence to
social distancing and masking requirements. Group fitness classes are
limited to 50 percent capacity not to exceed 25 persons unless that group is
part of an official sports team. This includes but is not limited to
gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, soccer, martial arts, fitness classes,
and workout rooms.
-- Skating rinks
must limit capacity to 25 persons at a time on the rink, with overall
facility capacity limited to 50 percent. Places of entertainment like
bowling alleys, movie theaters, and arcades must adhere to a 50 percent
capacity limitation and to social distancing.
funeral homes, and swimming pools must adhere to strict social distancing
and require patrons to mask.
-- Attendance at
K-12 school-related events and community sports leagues and tournaments is
limited to participants, support personnel, and parents/guardians/siblings.
Concessions are to remain closed.
-- PCHD will
utilize COVID-19 safety inspectors to ensure compliance with, and
enforcement of, Executive Order 20-48. Employees, patrons, and members of
the public are encouraged to contact PCHD--by telephone, email, or via the
website--with reports of non-compliance.