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Indiana Health Commissioner: Time to get serious about social distancing

Dr. Kris Box issues plea to Hoosiers
VIDEO: How 'social distancing' can slow coronavirus
Posted at 11:49 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 23:49:02-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box says some people aren't taking social distancing seriously, to the detriment of others.

Box spoke Thursday at Governor Eric Holcomb's daily press briefing on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Right now, the best way to decrease the severity of this outbreak is by everybody doing their part to practice social distancing," said Box.

But not everybody is getting the message. "I continue to hear about people getting in groups as they take advantage of the nice weather," said the commissioner. "Getting out for a walk or run will help you physically and I strongly encourage that, but it can't be business as usual. It can't be a group of 20 people. We need to socially distance ourselves even as we take our walks through the woods or in the park."

A person who might feel normal today could be carrying the virus and infect others, said Box. "So understand this, no matter what your age or current health, social distancing applies to to each and every Hoosier," she said. "You may get COVID-19 and be just fine, but the person that you gave it to may not be."

The commissioner also used the briefing to stress the importance of long-term care facilities having a plan to house patients who test positive for COVID-19. "Residents of these facilities are our highest risk population," she said. "They are older and they usually have underlying chronic medical conditions which can make illness much more severe."

Box said the health department has put together five "strike teams" to visit long term care facilities across the state. "we need every facility to have a firm plan in place about how they will handle COVID-19 cases so that we can reduce the spread of infection and preserve our hospital beds and health care resources for those who need them most."