Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett joined Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine on Thursday to provide an update on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the virtual news conference Hogsett said, “We’ve done a great job until now. And we can hold large events safely if we follow the proper protocols. We are not done yet. We’re close, but we’re not done yet. We must keep our guard up, even as we make the effort to return.”
According to the mayor, while recent numbers have shown an increase in the county’s positivity rate, cases appear to be plateauing and numbers are in line with trends around the state and country.
Earlier this week, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced plans to host this year’s Indianapolis 500 with some fans in the stands. The 105th running of the race will take place with 40% of venue capacity, which totals about 135,000 fans.
According to Caine, COVID-19 numbers are higher than previous updates, but she says but she says residents are remaining vigilant, returning to the things they love like the Indy 500. She reiterated the need to continue to mask up, remain socially distance, and wash hands.
When asked about the safety of holding the Indy 500 with fans, Caine said, “This is an outdoor event, which has a significantly lower risk of spread because its outdoors. The other additional factor is that we’ve now had nearly two full months of vaccine eligibility for anyone over the age of 16.”
Caine said events held outdoors have shown to be 10 times less likely to see COVID-19 transmission than events held indoors with people within the same proximity to one another.
Caine also addressed preliminary analysis of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament and its affect on the area.
“From preliminary analysis, we were able to determine of all of our cases that less than 1% of our cases was related to the NCAA tournament. And yet we saw a significantly higher rate of cases occurring because of spring break and travel.”
Caine says the department is still working to analyze the data.
During the news conference, the mayor also announced the Marion County Public Health Department will hold ‘virtual office hours’ for community-based organizations seeking to apply for the COVID Community Recovery Grant program. The virtual office hour will be held April 29 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
You can watch the full news conference below, courtesy of our partners at WISH-TV.