INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Tournament is over, and Indianapolis’ COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
“We can call the 2021 NCAA Division 1 Tournament a clear success for the city of Indianapolis,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said, after the city hosted 98 games over 28 days.
“We continue to work with event organizers and tournament leaders, engaging in contact tracing efforts and provide guidance on protocols as well as conduct additional surveillance and spot checks in and around the downtown area,” Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Health Department said. “And enforcement actions were taken when absolutely necessary.”
However, Marion County is now seeing a slow increase in positive cases for COVID-19. In early March, positive diagnoses were as low as 2.4%. But, by the end of the month, Marion County reached 4.1%.
The same goes for our newly confirmed cases, where Indianapolis stood in the low 80s for a weekly average, but now reaching 123 cases per week.
“So yes, I suspect now based on these numbers, to see a surge,” Dr. Caine said. “But because of the slowness of it and the lower rate of rise in the cases, we’re expecting that we’ll probably have a milder surge.”
Because of this and many people who are still yet to be vaccinated, Marion County has decided to keep the county-wide mask mandate in place.
“Actually I’m OK with it," Shari Krutulis said. “I think to be safe for everyone to do their part until everyone gets vaccinated, I think it’s the right thing to do to help each other.”
“We’ve been wearing them for a year now,” Geoff Thompson said. “If we have to wear them for six more months or a more months, then that’s fine. I’ll do my part and I’ll wear it.”
Dr. Caine believes this recent surge to be spring break and more weather-related. It will be at least another week to see what kind of impact the NCAA Tournament might have had on the city.
Regardless of your vaccine status, she said everyone needs to continue to mask up in public. Hogsett adds that herd immunity relies on everyone getting the vaccine.