Indiana Gov. Holcomb explains final stage of reopening with rising coronavirus cases

Indiana Gov. Holcomb explains final stage of reopening with rising coronavirus cases

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Indiana’s latest coronavirus report on Monday included 1,581 new cases.

Since late February, 2,357,865 tests have been administered, and the positivity rate stands at about 9.4 percent.

The average of daily coronavirus cases has continued to increase across the state. The single-day record was set just Friday, with 1,937 new cases.

Despite the rise in COVID-19 cases, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb began the state’s final stage of reopening. He told WAVE 3 News it’s a balance of protecting public health and the economy.

“The way we’re approaching it is to be very methodical, very data-driven, and balance our lives, safety first, of course, and our livelihoods,” Holcomb said. “Because if our economy goes in the tank, then we can’t help those people who are in need.”

Stage 5 of reopening allows bars, restaurants, salons, and gyms to continue serving guests at full capacity. Ninety-seven percent of public schools are now conducting classes with in-person learning. However, each institution must follow the state’s guidelines.

They include social distancing of at least six feet, especially in public spaces, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, wearing required face coverings until Oct. 17. Click here for the full list of guidelines.

“We still have the proper protocols to follow,” Holcomb said. “We still have capacity limits in how we do business, even while we’re in (stage) five. But we still are in a public help emergency position here, and we need to act accordingly.”

When the first round of restrictions was enforced, the state’s unemployment rate increased to 17.5 percent. Since then, the unemployment rate has fallen back to 6.4 percent.

For the thousands of Hoosiers and small businesses in need of assistance, Holcomb said the state is finding success through its Economic Development Corporation. So far, $9 billion have come from the PPE program, and 80,000 loans were forgiven.

“We set up a market place for PPE for businesses at our Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and we set up a whole suite of programs designed to help different sectors in our state, and there are still dollars left to allocate,” Holcomb said. “Whether it’s on workforce development or economic development or a festival or a small business, those programs are working and there still is funding there, and those can be found through our Indiana Economic Development Corporation.”

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