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Gov. Holcomb extends public health emergency executive order

Holcomb COVID-19
Posted at 2:14 PM, Oct 30, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric Holcomb extended the state's public health emergency for the 20th time Friday, but his staff is working on a plan to possibly end it in the near future.

The public health emergency was scheduled to expire October 31.

"I’m extending the public health emergency for another 30 days to maintain critical assistance to our neediest Hoosiers as we come out of this pandemic – all directly tied to its continuation," Holcomb said in an emailed statement.

Holcomb says he instructed his staff and relevant agencies to bring him a plan "that contemplates options to wind down our executive orders and end the state public health emergency in the near future."

READ: Executive Order 21-28 Executive Order 21-29

Several provisions from the most recent executive orders have been removed:

  • The direction for hospitals to consider reprioritizing or postponing non-emergent procedures
  • The reporting requirements for hospitals about diversion
  • The direction to the Indiana Department of Insurance to request that insurers extend prior authorization for non-emergent surgeries or procedures that are postponed and prior authorizations for the transfer or discharge of patients

Indiana University Health temporarily suspended 100% of all elective surgeries and procedures that required a hospital stay throughout the system. The healthcare system released the following statement Saturday:

"This decision was needed to relieve pressure on our care teams and to free up space for critically ill patients. We’ve been monitoring our census, staffing and acuity levels to help decide when to resume non-emergent surgeries. We still have high volumes of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, so we will be cautious in making this decision and are likely to make any adjustments on a region-by-region basis rather than for the system as a whole."

Eskenazi Health says it is planning to resume elective procedures on November 8. Columbus Regional Health, which canceled elective procedures and surgeries as of September 13, resumed its normal surgery schedule as of November 1, according to a spokesperson.

Vaccination efforts continue throughout the state, and the Department of Health announced this week the testing and vaccine clinic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be open until November 20.

"Despite significant steps being taken in our State, the virus remains a threat to the health, safety and welfare of all residents of Indiana such that emergency continue to exist," Order 21-28 states.

MORE: FDA approves COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11, CDC has the final say

Due to the anticipated CDC approval of a vaccine for children ages 5 – 11, a provision has been added to allow the health commissioner to issue a standing order to authorize the administration of COVID immunizations to children under 11. Currently, Indiana code limits the commissioner to 11 and over.