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White House task force says Indiana's COVID-19 situation 'continues to rapidly worsen'

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Posted at 2:01 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 14:01:47-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's COVID-19 situation continues to rapidly worsen and the state should take additional measures to lower its case numbers and test positivity rate, according to a White House Coronavirus Task Force report obtained by ABC News.

Indiana has the country's 14th highest rate of cases per 100,000 people and its test positivity rate ranks 15th nationally, the report said. Additionally, 99% of Indiana's counties have moderate or high levels of community transmission.

"We share the concern of Indiana leaders on the need to limit further cases and avoid increases in hospitalizations and deaths. Indiana had considerable success previously in limiting morbidity and mortality using an adaptive adjustment of mitigation measures in response to changes in incidence," the report said.

Indiana has reported four record-highs in new cases five times since Nov. 4. On Wednesday, the Indiana State Department of Health released statistics showing 5,156 new cases, 31 deaths and a record 2,544 hospitalizations. In the past week, Indiana has recorded 370 new cases per 100,000 residents, compared to a national average of 209 cases per 100,000 people.

RELATED | Indiana sets another record with 5,156 new COVID-19 cases

The White House Task Force report said Indiana's deaths, new cases, hospitalizations and test positivity have increased since mid-September. Gov. Eric Holcomb advanced Indiana to Stage 5 of the state's reopening plan on Sept. 26, which allowed businesses, including restaurants, bars and nightclubs to operate at full capacity.

The COVID-19 situation at the state's nursing homes also worsened in the past week. During the week of Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 18% of nursing homes had at least one resident test positive for COVID-19, while 33% had at least one new staff case and 10% had at least one resident die with COVID-19.

The report recommended expanded strategic use of point-of-care antigen tests for all people with and without symptoms in orange and red counties.

"Requiring use only in symptomatic individuals is preventing adequate testing and control of the pandemic," the report said.

The task force also said mitigation measures meant to limit transmission in personal gatherings need to be strengthened. State and community leaders need to provide a clear message asking Hoosiers to wear masks, physically distance and avoid gatherings in public and private spaces, especially indoors.