By Leah Sander
INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb has extended the state’s mask mandate.
Holcomb made the announcement during his weekly COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The mandate was set to expire on Saturday, Oct. 17. It will now continue through Nov. 14.
Indiana is experiencing a rise in cases. However, as the governor noted during the conference, it’s not an “Indiana phenomenon.” Other nearby states are also having a rise in numbers.
The governor also opted to keep the state in Stage 5 of reopening. He said he believed events of any size could still occur if they happened responsibly.
He also said he had no plans to move the state back into a shutdown, saying the shutdown in spring “was to get our footing” during the start of the pandemic, meaning stocking up on supplies.
Box Tests Positive
One takeaway from Holcomb’s press conference was the revelation that State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box has tested positive for COVID-19.
She called into the conference remotely and said she’s currently asymptomatic. She believes she was infected after spending time with her family; both her daughter and grandson also tested positive. They have mild symptoms.
Due to that, Holcomb said he, his staff and other leaders who have worked with Box recently were expected to get tested as a precaution.
They were expected to take a so-called rapid test first. If that’s negative, they’re going to take a more thorough test just in case.
State Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver also spoke during the conference.
She referred to the color chart the state health department has on its website rating counties by their number of COVID-19 cases. The colors for counties range from blue to yellow to orange to red, from a low number of cases to a high number in that order respectively.
She noted last week the state had 39 blue counties, eight in orange and one in red.
Now the state has 24 blue counties, 21 orange in and one in red.