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Indiana health department to stop COVID-19 updates over Christmas weekend

Posted at 8:53 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 20:55:20-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Health will not update its COVID-19 dashboard from Thursday through Sunday over Christmas weekend, according to a notice on the IDOH dashboard.

The announcement has raised concerns among some as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in Indiana.

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According to the notice, the dashboard will be updated again on Monday. IDOH doesn't typically update the dashboard on the weekends.

Micah Pollak, an associate professor of economics at IU Northwest who actively tracks COVID-19 trends and shares statistics on Twitter, said it is the "absolute worst" time to stop updates.

Pollak said Indiana could see the fastest increase in the spread of COVID-19 "in the history of the pandemic" during these days. He also said it's a terrible message to send "when so many healthcare workers are sacrificing holidays with their families to work in overloaded hospitals."

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In 2020, the state health department updated the dashboard on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations in Indiana have been increasing recently. On Tuesday, IDOH reported 118 additional COVID-19 deaths and 3,805 additional positive tests.

WRTV asked IDOH via email Tuesday for a statement about the hiatus at a time when cases are increasing and as some experts question the move. WRTV also asked why the dashboard won't be updated this year in the days around the holidays despite being updated at the same time last year.

IDOH released the following statement to WRTV in an email.

State offices are closed Dec. 23 and 24 to allow employees to celebrate the holiday with family and loved ones. The dashboard will resume its normal update schedule when state offices reopen on Dec. 27.