The Indiana governor’s office acknowledged Wednesday that the statewide COVID-19 public health emergency will likely extend into the new year after a failed attempt by legislators to quickly approve steps the governor sought to let the declaration expire.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the 21st monthlong extension of the public health emergency he first issued in March 2020 along with an executive order continuing a handful of administrative actions but no business or crowd restrictions. Both orders are in effect until Jan. 1.
Holcomb’s emergency order said about 95% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 75% of deaths involved unvaccinated people and stated that “the virus remains a threat to the health, safety and welfare of all residents of Indiana.”
Indiana has seen a roughly 80% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past three weeks, with about one-quarter of those patients being treated in intensive care units, according to tracking by the Indiana Department of Health. The state is averaging about 20 COVID-19 deaths a day.
Holcomb outlined administrative steps last month the Legislature could put into state law after which he would end the public health emergency. Republican legislative leaders, however, scuttled a planned fast-track approval of the measure following objections from medical and business groups over provisions added by lawmakers that would force broad exemptions from workplace vaccination requirements.