TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - “There is hope. We are excited to see things changing and the vaccine to be here,” Indiana State Health Commissioner said during Governor Eric Holcomb’s COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday.
Dr. Box says thousands of Hoosiers are receiving their first doses of the vaccine, and frontline healthcare workers remain a priority. She says these are the people who have worked seven days a week throughout the pandemic, and keeping them healthy is critical to Indiana’s vaccine efforts.
The number of new COVID-19 cases this week has declined. However, Dr. Box says it’s too soon to say Indiana has turned a corner, and they do expect cases to trend upward again in the coming weeks.
The state’s COVID-19 dashboard has changed the way they calculate positivity rates in Indiana per week. Previously, they added each day’s positivity rate for seven days and divided by seven to obtain the week’s positivity rate.
Starting on Wednesday, they are adding all the positive tests for the week and dividing that figure by the total tests done that week. Basically, she says the number of daily tests can vary quite a bit from day to day. This can affect the week’s overall positivity rate, especially in smaller counties like we see here in the Wabash Valley.
The change caused a two percent increase in the positivity rate state-wide. Dr. Box says there’s reason to be hopeful heading into 2021, but Hoosiers must remain disciplined and listen to what the data is saying.
“Please do not get numb to these numbers. These are our friends, our family members, and our neighbors,” Dr. Box said, “We owe it to them to continue to do the work that is needed until we can vaccinate the majority of our state.”
Indiana’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver broke down how vaccination efforts are going in the state of Indiana.
Dr. Weaver says as of Data pulled on Tuesday, nearly 76,000 Hoosiers have already received their first dose of the vaccine. More than 110,000 Hoosiers in total have scheduled appointments for the vaccine through next Monday, and that number continues to grow.
Those numbers do not include the nearly 40,000 doses that are set aside for long-term care facility residents and staff.
It was also announced that a vaccine dashboard will be launched that will show the number of vaccines administered. That will be on the state’s vaccine website and will be updated each Wednesday.
“By the end of this week, Indiana will have been allocated 146,250 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine and 152,500 doses of Moderna’s vaccine,” Dr. Weaver said, “That represents nearly 250,000 healthcare Hoosiers who can receive their first doses of vaccine to protect them from COVID-19.”
Dr. Weaver says weekly allocations of the vaccine will be lower going forward. This includes lower vaccinations occurring over Christmas and again for the New Year. However, officials say vaccines will be picking up once we get past the holidays.
“We continue to focus our vaccination efforts on our frontline healthcare workers because they are at the greatest risk of exposure,” Dr. Weaver concluded, “CVS and Walgreens have started their vaccination efforts in long-term care facilities this week.”
Dr. Weaver stressed that the state is moving in a very intentional order of vaccine distribution. This is to ensure they have enough vaccines before opening up vaccines to additional groups. She says to date, no vaccine has gone to waste or expired.