INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Surgeon General says Indianapolis is one of the "emerging hot spots" for COVID-19 cases, but what does that actually mean?
With over 1,700 cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 reported in Indiana as of Monday, March 30, the state is quickly catching up to neighboring states as far as numbers of tests being conducted and confirmed cases.
And in the center of it all lies Marion County, which is home to Indianapolis and nearly half of the states confirmed cases, as well as a third of the reported deaths from the virus. The case numbers in Indiana have been on a quickly escalating scale, along with the number of tests being performed, and they don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
The state's first coronavirus case was reported on Friday, March 6 — it was 10 days later on Monday, March 16 when the state recorded its first death from COVID-19.
Now two weeks later, the Indiana State Department of Health is reporting 1,786 confirmed cases and 35 deaths, and health officials say we could still be weeks away from the virus reaching its peak in the Hoosier state.
Along those same lines, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams named Indianapolis one of six "emerging hot spots" in the pandemic as the race to flatten the curve continues across the United States.
"We must now focus on flattening the curve and raising the bar in emerging hot spots like New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, LA, Miami, and Indianapolis," Adams posted on Twitter. "We have the playbook, - but we must all increasingly run the plays faster and better as #COVID19 spreads the field."
Adams, Indiana's former State Health Commissioner, called Indiana his "adopted home" in a statement to RTV6, and shared his faith in the leadership of health officials across the state to help fight the spread and flatten the curve.
“The Indianapolis area is my adopted home, and where all 3 of my children were born," Adams told RTV6. "It is also unfortunately one of several areas in the country where we are seeing a rapid uptick in COVID-19 cases. Therefore it is critical that they leverage local, state, and federal partnerships and follow the President’s guidance to slow the spread."
"What metropolitan areas like Indianapolis do right now will determine their trajectory and outcomes in the coming days and weeks, and I’m confident in the leadership of Indianapolis Health Director Dr. Caine, and Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Box," Adams said.
In summary, Adams says short term success in fighting the spread of COVID-19 means flattening the curve and making sure our healthcare system isn't overwhelmed by patients. That means maintaining social distancing, staying home unless you absolutely need to go out for something and helping to fight the spread by following proper hygiene and hand-washing techniques.
"Short term success often means aggressive mitigation/social distancing/shut downs, but this is finite. The sooner, more fully a community embraces it, the shorter the timeline. A plan to test, isolate, & trace contacts also shortens (that) timeline," Adams said. "Long term success means having the public health and medical resources to quickly identify, isolate, and treat new cases, and prevent/suppress future outbreaks."