Indiana’s urging parents and students to make sure Labor Day and the start of school don’t give the coronavirus more momentum.
State health commissioner Kristina Box says a significant part of a recent increase in coronavirus cases stems from the resumption of high school and college classes. But she says it’s not the classroom that’s spreading infections, but parties and sleepovers outside of class.
Box says high school students need to be able to socialize with their friends but says parents should take a cue from the safety precautions in place at school, and limit their kids’ socializing to four-to-six B-F-F’s so any outbreak is contained. And she says when those small groups do get together, the usual precautions of wearing masks and social distancing still apply.
Box says health department contact tracers have linked 33-hundred cases to gathering spots, from bars and restaurants to funerals and church camps. She says one bar has been linked to 34 cases — 12 patrons who were there on the same night, and 22 more they infected over the next two weeks.
Box is renewing her warning to take precautions over Labor Day. She says the Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends led directly to surges in new cases a couple of weeks later and has warned for a couple of weeks that she’s concerned it will happen again. Governor Holcomb’s order requiring local health department permission for gatherings of more than 250 people is still in place, and Box says some gatherings have been rejected because organizers couldn’t ensure proper social distancing.
Holcomb says those events are “moths to the flame” which can quickly lead to surges in infections. He notes it takes a lot longer to bring those increases back down and says it’s a lot easier for people to take precautions in advance than to react to outbreaks.