A breakdown of what Indiana's rescinded public health emergency declaration means

NOW: A breakdown of what Indiana’s rescinded public health emergency declaration means

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY --- Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb rescinded the state’s public health emergency declaration as cases across Indiana and in St. Joseph County decline with more than 56% of eligible Hoosiers fully vaccinated statewide.

This comes as cases, hospitalizations and COVID deaths decline, which was the driving factor behind the Governor Holcomb’s decision to rescind the state’s public health emergency declaration that’s been in place for nearly two years.

Now that governor Holcomb’s health emergency declaration is now behind us,

What does that mean? To start we’ll have to explain what did the emergency declaration did:

The answer is that it allowed the governor to implement long-lasting emergency restrictions such as stay-at-home orders, business closures, and mask mandates like we saw at the beginning of the pandemic.

It allowed the state health department to work with hospitals to address staffing and equipment shortages and it also streamlined the state’s access to federal funding to help expedite things like the rollout of covid-19 vaccines by allowing retired nurses and doctors who no longer had an active medical license to still give covid-19 shots.

“If they were volunteering to give COVID-19 vaccinations their license was reinstated and they had some liability protection with that,” said Dr. Mark Fox, the Deputy Health Officer for the St Joseph County Health Officer. “Those licensing provisions had a huge impact on our vaccine rollout and in many communities.”

Now what does it mean that the covid-19 public health emergency declaration has been rescinded?

Governor Holcomb’s powers to implement rules such as mask mandates and those business closures are now limited.

Holcomb still signed a law HEA 1001 (2022) for continued financial support to Hoosiers struggling financially, two years after it hit Indiana, and he’s allowed the state to continue to get additional federal financial relief.

But despite the order being rescinded and cases declining Dr. Fox still warned everyone to be vigilant.

“The timing is right for these emergency orders to go away but I also worry that people are kind of ready to be done with and ready to move on,” he added. “I think my message to people is if they become sick and have symptoms that can be related to COVID it’s still important to get tested to know whether it’s COVID or not to protect yourself and others you care about.”

Stay with ABC57 next week for a special extended look at how the pandemic has impacted Michiana called, “Tracking the Coronavirus, Two Years Later.” That airs next Friday, March 11 during our 90 minutes of news.

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