(INDIANAPOLIS) – As Indiana grapples with a renewed surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) are urging Hoosier organizations and individuals to redouble virus mitigation efforts.
The strategies to accomplish this imperative are not new. They are the same methods government and public health officials have been touting to prevent unnecessary illnesses and deaths. Today, they are also the primary steps to benefit students, teachers, employees and businesses:
- Wear a face covering when outside of the home to protect you and others
- Avoid public gatherings and follow social distancing guidelines
- Wash your hands often
- Stay home if you are feeling ill
“This is all about people – today’s employees and our future workforce,” shares Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “Our workplaces and schools are inextricably tied in how we address this pandemic. The strains on the education system directly impact the workplace as well with parents/workers caught in a nearly impossible balancing act.”
Keith Gambill, president of ISTA, echoes those sentiments. “Our teachers and schools have done a tremendous job to provide safe and very different learning environments. But we can’t keep our teachers and students safe, as well as employees at all businesses, without vigilance in following these safety precautions. That’s why it’s so important for schools and businesses to work together on these public health matters.”
According to the Indiana Hospital Association, COVID-19 hospitalizations alone have increased 234% since October 1 and 83% since November 1. If Indiana continues on this trajectory, COVID-19 hospitalizations are projected to double by Thanksgiving.
“Adherence to the Indiana mask mandate is a matter of personal responsibility, and when Hoosiers fail to act responsibly, it is the health care and essential workers that are paying the price,” says Katherine Feley, CEO of the Indiana State Nurses Association. “Anyone who refuses to wear a mask is directly putting others at risk of harm. Personal freedom should not extend to the freedom of placing others in danger.”
The Indiana Chamber and ISTA have previously supported similar calls from state and local government leaders. They join forces today – alongside Indiana’s leading health care organizations – to strongly encourage others and to emphasize the impacts beyond the critical health care factors.
“The recent news about vaccines and antibody therapies is encouraging but not a silver bullet,” Gambill offers. “We must execute these safeguards to protect our people and to open (or reopen) schools and businesses safely with the ability to remain that way.”
Brinegar adds, “It’s true that the Indiana Chamber and ISTA do not see eye-to-eye on every issue. But this is all about coming together to urge each and every person to do what is best for their own families, our people and our state. It is critical that we do so now.”