Governor Holcomb extends emergency declaration

NOW: Governor Holcomb extends emergency declaration

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb says there is a state shortage of COVID-19 rapid tests, after extending the public health emergency order this afternoon. A

The state has deployed 6 person teams to nearly 2 dozen hospitals across the state to help address staffing concerns. While they’re doing everything they can to decrease cases, officials recommend getting boosted to help stop the spread.

“The responsibility that we have to share good information that people at home cling to make decisions about when to go to the grocery store is of paramount importance," said Governor Holcomb.

Governor Hocomb extends the COVID-19 emergency public health order in Indiana, as the pandemic enters its third year.

For many, the risk of infection is going up as the omicron variant continues to spread.

Indiana health officials say omicron is 70 percent more contagious, than the previous variants.

“I’ve heard many people say that they do not think they need to get the vaccine because they’ve already had COVID. We do not know how long those antibodies last and many people have wound up getting COVID more than once," said Chief Medical Officer, Lindsay Weaver.

Positivity rates across the state have increased.

Reinfections, alone, account for almost 700 new cases according to state numbers released Wednesday.

While President Joe Biden announced the White House will make 500 million at home tests available for free in the New Year, Governor Holcomb says the situation will get worse before it gets better.

“Americans will be able to access them at some point next month quantity to be determined. We need it now and I think I can speak for other governors. This is not a partisan statement what so ever, we need it now. There is a state shortage and a record demand," said Governor Holcomb.

Even with growing concerns, the governor said there won’t be additional restrictions. Instead the focus will be on increasing booster doses -- so Johnson and Johnson vaccines won’t be offered at any state sites moving forward.

Some residents say they’re not upset about the decision.

“Because of the risk of those blood clots we should go with those that don’t have clots so yeah, it’s decreasing the risk and getting the most benefit without risking anything," said David Grellmann, South Bend Resident.

The state will extend vaccine and testing sites through the end of January to help with the increased demand.

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