Governor Holcomb announces mandate extension

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb has announced that he will extend the state’s face covering mandate and continue Stage 4.5 of the Back On Track Indiana plan until Sept. 25.

Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.

Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March.

The state continues to monitor and respond to these four guiding principles:

• The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 days.

• The state retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators.

• The state retains its ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders and frontline employees.

• Health officials have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracing.

The Indiana State Department of Health is updating its color-coded county positivity map to evaluate each county based on three metrics.

The tracker will score counties as blue, yellow, orange or red more easily allowing local officials to determine the best course of action.

Scoring does not trigger a state requirement of any action, but provides local information and recommendations based on:

• Number of new cases in the past week per 100,000 residents.

• Percent positivity as determined by the number of positive tests divided by the total number of tests administered.

• The change in percent positivity from the previous week.

The new system is designed to help local and school officials understand and respond to the level of community spread in their county. The map will be available on the ISDH coronavirus dashboard.

Details and guidance will be updated at BackOnTrack.in.gov.

The governor also signed an executive order extending the public health emergency by 30 days.