Gov. Holcomb Announces ‘Back on Track’ Plan Moving to ‘Stage 4.5’

(UNDATED) – Gov. Holcomb announced Wednesday that Indiana will not be moving to Stage 5 of its “Back on Track” plan on July 4th. Instead, a “Stage 4.5” will hold for the next two weeks, according to a new Executive Order.

Holcomb said the state is seeing an “uptick” in COVID-19 cases.

Stage 5, the last stage of the reopening plan, was previously projected to go into effect on the Fourth of July. Holcomb declared the state will move to a “cautious Stage 4.5.”

“This gives us a little more time to manage our way through this,” said Holcomb.

The governor added that states around the country are seeing surges, and added that the nationwide cases are at a peak level.

“A date doesn’t drive us, but the data does,” Holcomb said. “This virus is on the prowl. That spread is not slowing down. Even states that have reopened recently, they are going back.”

Holcomb and his team also announced a new #MaskUpHoosiers campaign to encourage Hooisers to wear masks in public spaces. He recommends mask-wearing “in the strongest terms possible” and said, “it’s about getting through this in the safest way.”

“I believe in Hoosiers doing the right thing. That’s one aspect where we have acted appropriately. We have a long history … of working with locals in a partnership,” said Holcomb.

Dr. Box noted that mandating masks can sometimes result in more people not wearing them, solely because there is a mandate.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box gave the state’s Wednesday report of coronavirus numbers: 371 new positive cases, bringing the state’s total to 45,952. An additional 8 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 were announced Wednesday, bringing Indiana’s total to 2,456.

Dr. Daniel Rusyniak announced the creation of a long term care facility specific COVID-19 data dashboard. He said it will take some time to build, but will be searchable by users. 

Rusyniak said information will include when cases occurred, how many residents/staff died, how many recovered and demographics of people involved. Data will be available starting in mid-July, and the dashboard will go live not long afterward.