tv Indiana Gov. Holcomb Holds Coronavirus News Conference CSPAN November 25, 2020 9:46pm-10:48pm EST
>> governor hogan -- governor holcomb participated in a briefing from home where he and his wife have been in quarantine after several members of his security detail tested positive for coronavirus. >> good afternoon and thank you for joining us on this wednesday before thanksgiving. we are going to go directly to the governor, governor holcomb, who is still in quarantine. >> thank you. good afternoon to all who are with us today. again, we have a full menu of updates to go over this afternoon. first, we will hear from dr. fox and then from our friends at the , whoanks school of health will present the results from their third round of findings on the covid study here in indiana,
but i also want to say just an aside here at the outset that we are still in quarantine. we are following orders. we are fine. no symptoms developing for either of us. i have learned that i am somewhat of an inpatient patient . this is one of the first times i have been pinned down, but , december 1chnology will get here when it gets here. in the meantime, we will be celebrating thanksgiving home alone. better safe than sorry. maybe we will make up for it next year with emily from around the state and around the country coming in and maybe do two thanksgivings next year -- family from around the state and around the country coming in. we are wishing a lot of others
good health and strength and food and clothing and shelter they need because we know so in india are stepping up to help and fill that need. this year has reminded us both of everything that we took for past.d in years even the most basic things like at sporting events. all those traditions and annual rituals or routines that have had to be adjusted or postponed -- we no longer take those things for granted, and we look forward to the day when we can see that light at the end of the tunnel, when we can get back to normal -- next new
normal when vaccines are readily available to the public and therapeutics. we are so practicing everything we need to do in the meantime. we are going to round that turn, so to speak, in indiana at some point, but we have to do all the necessary things to get there, so i just wanted to put an extra shout out of thanks to all those who are doing just that. i really have been encouraged lately by so many folks who are doing even more than they were , putting others of of self and doing everything they can to do individually to help slow the spread. that means mask up and physically distancing, washing hands. you will know the drill -- you all know the drill, but cannot
say it or do it enough because all those good actions add up. i am thankful that over the last -- what? for days now, we have seen our average seven-day positivity rate take down. ever so slightly. way too early to say this is a way toand we have a long go, obviously, but when you go to 11.8%, 11.4 percent, 11.2%, i really do attribute that decline to more and more hoosiers individually stepping forward and recognizing the stress and strain on our health care network, on all the doctors and nurses and caregivers,on our and really doing all we can, and that is what is going to -- that
will continue if we continue. we have a long list of communities that are doing just time thatat the same seven-day average positivity rate is ticking down, the number of people hospitalized continues to rise, and the number of daily hospital admissions is continuing to go up as well, so while on one hand we see a decline in on the other, and inclined, and we've got to be able to muster the strength and the wherewithal to make sure that over the course of the next few weeks, when it is getting colder and colder and there's goingravel, people inside, in a few months, before we get to that ultimate light at the end of the tunnel, that we are doing all we can to help our health care network and all those care workers so they can
continue to care for those who are in the greatest need. we will continue -- my office, before-- next week, wednesday, two: 30, same time 2:30, same time next week, i will be meeting with businesses and hospital officials. again, we do this on a day in/day out basis, but i want to have a very organized set of data and get those updated perspectives and input from local community leaders about their status, about what they see that the state and local communities could be doing more in terms of our partnership as next week get here. we will continue to make sure our county getting
that tricks out and in place and sharing those with those local .fficials again a long list of communities with me all the time, and every day, there is another local community road the rubber meets the that is asking us for support and help. as i mentioned last week, the department of homeland security and atc have both been performing regularly scheduled inspections of commercial properties, etc. the state fire marshal, who has a staff of 40 code inspectors, have been working with counties, with local officials, with businesses to promote those good practices and that education. the fire marshal staff has visited over 70 sites, including facilities, as i just mentioned.
the state have inspected more alcohol-permitted premises. of those 1500, by the way, 47 were found not to be in compliance with masking or social distancing, and so we have seen through those 1500 and only those 47 with education efforts nearly every one of come intoave compliance. this can only work if we are doing it together and sharing what works, again, individually, if that's a person or a small town or big city, so look for more of that type of partnership. with that, i will cease to drone on, and i will turn it back over to you to introduce our guests after your full report. dr. fox: unfortunately, we
continue to see high spread of covid-19 across our state. our color-coded maps have 17 counties this week in red, down from 21 last week. once again, one county in yellow. community spread is approaching very high levels in these communities. that's very concerning. we know many people are ignoring our pleas and the cdc's pleas to stay home and limit thanksgiving to your immediate household. you can see that in video images coming out of airport around the country. based on the spikes we have seen after our holidays, i'm concerned any of these orange counties will wind up in red in the next few weeks. i cannot repeat this enough -- bringing together large groups of people from outside your immediate household puts everyone at risk for covid-19. beingspitals are inundated with covid patients. there is still time to make the
hard choice today so that you can enjoy many more tomorrows with your loved ones. you heard last week about the hospital surge and how it is affecting not just people with covid, but individuals who have other conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. the number of people hospitalized with covid or cobit-like symptoms continues to rise and was over 3300 yesterday. daily hospitalizations also continue to increase at a significant rate. we also unfortunately are seeing an increasing number of deaths, especially among residents of long-term care facilities. yesterday, we saw the highest number of deaths reported on our dashboard with more than 100 hoosiers losing their lives to this virus. another 63 deaths were reported today. seeing these numbers is beyond heartbreaking, especially when we realize that about half of the deaths in the last week occurred among our vulnerable residence in long-term care facilities. in addition to sending the indiana national guard to these
facilities, we have partnered with the bowen center to engage people willing to serve in our health care reserve workforce. it launched its hoosier health care heroes call to action survey again on november 13. in just one week, more than 12,003 hundred unique individuals responded to the survey. this included 700 52 retired health care professionals. 752 retired health care professionals. said they could serve full-time. the remainder indicated they could volunteer for either a totial shift per week or up three shifts per week. respondents included doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and many others. facilities that have a need will be connected with servants to help fill those gaps. we have been able to connect these reservists with local health departments also.
i have heard from several small health departments that are struggling to keep their doors open because their staff are sick or in quarantine. the bowen center was able to connect one department that was at risk of and down to one employee with 10 reservists in their area who had expressed a willingness to help. we also announced the student step up to serve workforce last week that engages college students. as of friday, nearly 250 college students had expressed a willingness to assist in hospitals, long-term care facilities, to assist with covid testing or vaccine sites and in k-12 schools and other settings. more than 19% offered to serve full-time. more than 62% offered to help two to three shifts per week. i encourage any college student who has the availability and desire to help to sign up for the student workforce at the link that you see on your screen. we continue to experience high test volume, which is creating longer turnaround times for results. to help address this, we have
sent tests tove local health departments to help address testing and we are helping other local health departments to address communities in need. we will be working with local health departments that have send themd tests to to where they are needed. this is intended to help with community testing. they are not for use in schools, businesses, or other sites at this time and not intended for redistribution to ems or other entities. you must be symptomatically and within seven days of onset to meet the criteria to receive these tests. they provide a rapid result and a positive test in a symptomatically individual is treated the same as a positive pcr test. having these rapid answers in symptomatically individual allows local health departments to quickly inform the patient of
a positive result and provide on-site instructions up our isolation. it also allows us to jumpstart the process of notifying close contacts of their need to quarantine to prevent further spread of infection. and it helps to reduce turnaround time for results and ease the burden on labs across the country, including those in indiana that are stretched beyond capacity due to the huge increase in testing. finally, a quick update on the status of the vaccine. pfizer has applied for emergency use authorization from the fda and a meeting is scheduled to determine whether to issue that authorization. when that is issued, states have been told to be prepared to receive vaccine in as little as 48 hours. return a is also expected to seek emergency authorization soon. we are communicating this timing to hospitals and frontline health care workers so they will be prepared and we can prepare
staff to receive the vaccine. for this vaccine to be effective, people need to ensure they get two doses in the recommended timeframe of 21 or 28 days. the covid vaccine is not like any other vaccine and that it provides high protection with a single dose. it does not. both doses are necessary for it to be effective. the 95% effectivity is only if we get the second dose. a recent poll showed only 58% of americans were willing to get the vaccine. i want to remind any hoosiers who might be hesitant that these vaccines will not be approved for release until a thorough review of their safety at federal and state levels is completed. both pfizer and moderna vaccines are reporting side effects such as fatigue, headache, and in some cases fever. this is normal.
it does not mean the vaccine gave you covid. this is the normal immune response to getting a vaccine. many people experience similar symptoms after a flu shot or shingles vaccine. these are temporary effects and will wear off quickly and the benefits of the vaccine will far outweigh these side effects. the vaccine will prevent hoosiers from contracting covid-19. it will not be a get out of jail free card. we still need to wear masks, practice social distancing, and stay home if sick for the foreseeable future until we are able to vaccinate a large portion of our population, and we anticipate that will take many months. the vaccine is a critical tool in our efforts to resume what resembles a normal life. in the meantime, please stay the course. continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing, washing your hands, staying home when you are sick.
that is the way to get to the other side of this pandemic. now it is my pleasure to welcome back the dr. and dean heller send. dean halverson: thank you. it is great to be here today and i want to express my gratitude to you and governor holcomb for leading indiana's covid-19 response. i am grateful for the fact you have put science and data in front of your decision-making and allowing that guidance to help make these critical decisions. i am also proud of our partnership with the state. the fairbanks school of public health has only been around for about eight years and our partnership is important because our school was created with the idea of improving the health of hoosiers, especially as we support the state health
department and local health departments across the state. , i am dr. mentioned paul halverson, a founding dean of the fairbanks school of public health. since april, our team of researchers has led a statewide study to understand the spread of covid-19 in indiana. it has been a complex operation that has highlighted the ability of hoosiers to mobilize quickly and coordinate across multiple state agencies and private organizations to support the health and well-being of everyone in our state. while several other states are developing plans for testing on the scale, indiana remains only state that has conducted random sample testing statewide. it is now in three phases and we are going to talk about that in a moment. it is exciting to showcase what
indiana can do. i am pleased to introduce my colleague, who has served as the lead scientist on this testing initiative. he will support key findings from wave three and i will highlight some of the overall findings that the indiana prevalence study has revealed and has contributed to the overall knowledge about the virus to date. he is the fairbanks endowed chair of public and population health and leads our department of and management. he also is a scientist and teaches at both the iu school of business and iu school of medicine in addition to his responsibilities at the fairbanks school. to remind everyone that the purpose of the indiana prevalence study has always been to determine the cumulative number of hoosiers that have ever been infected with the coronavirus.
knowing this information tells us how much the virus has infiltrated into our population and can provide governor holcomb and dr. box with key information to enhance decision-making. the number of infections is not the same as the number of cases. in a previous press conference, i noted cases represent just the tip of the iceberg. everyone mayclude be positive for the coronavirus at a given point in time. people at the bottom of the pyramid are those who are infected but probably don't know it because they have no symptoms. above that are people with very mild symptoms. as you move up the pyramid, you find infected people with more serious symptoms who seek medical care. some will be hospitalized and fewer, but some, will die. cases are those who under normal circumstances test positive.
because testing most frequently occurs among people on the top half of the pyramid, usually in response to serious symptoms, cases represent a fraction of all infections. it is clear that people on the bottom half are responsible for significant spread of the virus. utilized two, we exciting new approaches to reliably determine the number of hoosiers that have ever been infected. similarroaches yielded results and the second approach was validated with experimental data. despite the findings being preliminary, we are fairly confident in them. the first approach enhances our previous method of random selection and testing by adding historic testing data, including previous positive status on individuals that were randomly selected. hazardpandemic hazard -- -- has progressed and testing
has increased, getting data from randomly selected volunteers has been challenging in indiana and around the globe. by leveraging historic testing data with the help of the indiana management performance hub, we are able to get accurate accounts of prior infections in our randomly selected group. those with previously positive results were invited to participate in testing. our second approach, which yielded similar results, utilized unique in the world information generated in week one of our indiana prevalence study. using the random sample from april 2020 we were able to calculate the probability of deaths from covid by age, which we published in the leading medical journal. previously, determining the number of infections that resulted in death was elusive. lessone had to rely on
reliable case counts. luckily, hoosiers participation in wave one generated the best data of its kind, allowing us to get a reliable rate of deaths by age. during wave one in april, nursing home residents were excluded. out result, we backed nursing home deaths from our calculations. specifically, we have to determined-- we have that of people under 30, 1 death occurs for every 19,500 infections. this risk of death rapidly increases across age groups, such that among those over 65 years we determined that one death occurs for every 43 infections. , onlyhis information possible due to the first wave of the indiana prevalence study, we were able to mathematically
estimate the number of team that if infections by analyzing the ages of everyone who has already died of covid-19 in indiana. we determined that by the end of wave three in the first week of october, approximately 7.8% of hoosiers have ever been infected. there was a lower prevalence in the higher risk, older age groups. given the troubling increase in newly reported deaths in the past month, we calculated the current key motive number of infections in indiana using the same approach. as of friday, october 20, we believe the population prevalence was 10.6% in indiana with worrisome increases in the oh this, most vulnerable age groups. what does this all mean? at almost an 11% population prevalence, we are very far from the approximately 70% needed to
achieve heard immunity. without a vaccine, if infections continue to rise, so will the death toll. as you saw, generally speaking deaths are rare for people under 30 or 40. however, deaths are far more common in the older age groups. we now know and have evidence to suggest that an increase of infections among younger hoosiers critically translates into more infections and more deaths among older hoosiers. this is what is occurring now to explain the increase in deaths and the strain on our hospitals. every hoosier has the responsibility to protect themselves and everyone else by practicing all the proven ways to reduce the spread of the virus. if the virus continues to spread until 70% eventually got infected prior to a vaccine, an
additional 13,000 hoosiers -- and that doesn't include hoosiers currently in nursing homes -- would lose their lives. that is many times more deaths than has already occurred in indiana. pushing to achieve herd immunity without a vaccine risks losing many lives in and outside nursing homes. the good news is, the same strategies needed to prevent loss of lives, like wearing masks and social distancing, are also the things we can do to protect our economy. your scientific leadership has been vital to the success of this endeavor, and i would say your persistence in the midst of trying to manage a whole lot of things. this study has been really important and you have done great. we genuinely appreciate the strong support for each and
every person who got tested. it is hard to find people that want to respond to the opportunity for testing, but we had so many that did and we are very appreciative of that response. it is clear that hoosiers are really appreciative and want to in ourpate to contribute national understanding of covid-19. following is ae highlight of the knowledge we now know as a result of our testing program. first this work was the scientifically accurate study to determine that 40% of infected individuals are asymptomatic. that means that prior to our study, there were many people walking around without symptoms with the novel virus who were unaware they could infect others. this is so important now as we
recognize we have got to take precautions, even if we feel fine. they data also suggested loss of taste and smell were key symptoms specific to sars cov 2 infections, especially among people not otherwise being tested. very key -- become these are two very key symptoms in the diagnostic workup. being doctor mentioned, able to determine the true mortality rate by age and other characteristics was really the first in the world finding, and that has really been important. just as you heard, this important information is key to understanding so much more about the disease. i guess it is really important to underscore the fact that as we see the mortality table, you can see that the older you are,
the more likely you are to die from this infection. that's not to scare anyone, but it is to recognize we must take extra precautions to protect our frankly,izens and, that includes a lot of us that really need to pay attention. that means we need to be very vigilant, in particular around reducing exposure to the disease. it may mean forgoing in-person church services. it may mean reducing density in crowds and other activities. and it may also mean being very careful here at thanksgiving. the indiana prevalence study was also the first to show that cases only represent a small fraction of infections. at the time we did our first wave, we found one out of every
11 true infections were actually counted as a case. term, to use the doctors that tip of the iceberg was important to understand the people that were our cases that we would have otherwise only concentrated on were just a small fraction of the people who were really infected. also our targeting testing efforts demonstrated a disproportionate positivity among african-americans and hispanic individuals, which demonstrates the health disparities within our state and other states around the country. lastly in wave one, this study demonstrated public health measures worked effectively to keep infections at bay within indiana communities. that's so important because there is hope. we have good reason to be hopeful with a vaccine on the horizon. now is time to double down in
terms of precautionary measures, the public health measures that dr. box mentioned. when i reflect on the ground and enduring contributions indiana has made to the fight against covid-19, i am proud to call myself a hoosier and i hope you are, too. it is imperative we continue wearing masks, physically distancing, and washing hands for 20 or more seconds. as we look forward to a vaccine and a healthier and more normal 2021, let's remember that this message that dr. box gave is so important, especially around thanksgiving. just because you have a genetic connection with your family -- and i know this is counterintuitive. we like to think if you are part of the same family, we can share the germs, everybody will be protected. the reality is just because you
have a genetic connection does not mean that if you are not in the immediate household, you can relax and not wear our mask. you need to be sure that we are isolating appropriately, trying to reduce that exposure. be careful. we are worried about this holiday. all of us in public health in particular are worried about this holiday. let's get through this one so we can celebrate really the thanksgiving of getting through covid-19. and dr. box,ernor is that our study has been helpful to you as you lead our state through this important public health crisis. thank you aunt back to you, dr. box. thank you. such important words of wisdom and i am happy you will be able to stay on during the question and answer time. rachel? rachel: indy politics.
happy early thanksgiving. two questions. dr. box, is there any data on once you contract covid-19, how long they have for symptoms to go away or disappear? governor, a representative penned a letter on facebook saying she was critical of your administration's stay-at-home orders. any reaction to that? dr. box: i will start. most people, if they are going to become symptomatic, will see symptoms between days five to seven. as you know, many people are asymptomatic, especially the younger population. if you look at the entire population, maybe 40% to 45% never develop symptoms. in the younger population, that could be even higher, 60% and
higher. the reason we have such a difficult time controlling this disease. gov. holcomb: my only reaction, good morning to you, whatever time zone you are in or whatever exotic place you find yourselves in celebrating this thanksgiving. afternoon here. in reaction to your question, i only wish her and her family well. she points to a very important topic and that is that so many individuals and so many have had to adjust and make changes to safely deal with the reality of this uber bama-contagious, easily this pandemicrus, that is unprecedented in all of
our lifetimes, and making sure we are all doing everything we can not just to save lives and care for those in need of it, but also make sure our health strainedork isn't beyond the ability to care for our neighbors. it is just, on the flipside of the coin, beyond inspiring to all these small, medium, large hoosier businesses that have become very creative. , buty first, paramount have become very creative in negotiating their way through this pandemic. we will continue to not just be in contact but rely on
information. businessesion from all over indiana and every sector, and while it's encouraging to see some sectors potentially having a better year this year than they did last, as hard as that is to wrap your brain around, others are hurting. especially our hospitality industry. there is nothing more than i would like to have massive conventions back and air travel back. and ity will get here has been mentioned already a few times, when we get to that point, when we have vaccines, when we are down to a responsible level, and those packed gyms and churches become all the hysteria that comes with it, i look
forward to that day. until then, we have to be informed and act on that information. rachel: meredith with wlfi. reporter: good afternoon, governor, dr. box. my question is concerning the 47 businesses not found in compliance. stateere any area in the that was found to be more of a problem area than any other area? how were those businesses reprimanded and how are you making sure they are continuing to follow the rules now that they have been warned at least once? i don't know if joe is on deck. i think steve cox is out in the field. but no one area stood out. we have been in the posture of
education and helping and working at making sure the local , not just health department knows but is taking the lead locally as well. joe, if you are available, feel free to chime in. if not, we can get meredith a breakout for you on those 47 of the 1500, where they are so you have a pin in the map and see what the follow-up is. it has all been local. what has been shared with me is most have been appreciative. that's why i, again, want to applaud many local efforts, not just of late, but they are starting to accumulate. that's going to make a big difference across the whole state of indiana, not just putting a blanket or having a
blanket reaction, but working at this regionally county by county and regionally. when we see marion county and allen county and the saint joe county thinking regionally, hamilton county, fishers, ,etersburg, marshall county west lafayette, lake station, huntington, clark county, floyd county, valparaiso -- the list goes on. these are all folks stepping up not just in capacity but in different efforts of communication. we have been in very close with ourtion, regular, county and sister organizations and we will be continuing to step up. that's why we carved out that $20 million to help with educational efforts on the ground.
that's what's going to make a difference, not just in indiana, but across the country. rachel: brandon smith, indiana public broadcasting. gov. holcomb: afternoon, brandon. reporter: afternoon. i have a question for you, governor, and then dr. box. governor, what is the status of the $20 million you are sending to local communities to help with the education effort around covid-19? have those funds been sent out yet? what's the status there? gov. holcomb: we put together the program, as you allude to. communications about the program went out to all the counties last week formally on friday to all the cities and towns. the indiana finance authority website has been updated so they are ready to receive all those grant requests, and we did
clarify -- there was a couple of questions about was marion county included in that as well, and the answer is yes, they are. .e will process as we receive reporter: dr. box, you talked about how worried you are about a spike related to thanksgiving because we talked about people ignoring the advice. what advice do you have for communities and health-care systems who are bracing for this surge amidst this already ongoing search? dr. box: our health care systems are doing an amazing job across the state. they are partnering and collaborating with the state and with each other within their regions and i think that's what we have to continue to do. we have to have them reach out when they need something, if they need to transfer patients, if they need more ventilators, more staff. we need to be there to try to
help answer the call they have. i think our hospital system is incredibly well positioned to do that. they have been amazing partners from the beginning of this pandemic. rachel: abigail with the brown county democrat. gov. holcomb: good, abigail. reporter: good afternoon, governor and dr. box. happy thanksgiving to both of you. i have two questions. i think they are probably both for dr. box. my first question is, which days' data were used to inform the decision to change countie'' color statuses today? we see for brown county, test results from november 19 to march 4 are marked preliminary. we know test results were taking as long as a week to come back for people here. do we have a full week's worth of data to accurately judge our level of spread? dr. box: we use the data as of midnight on sunday night. so it is a full seven days of data and whatever data has come in in that timeframe with
regards to tests. yes, if those tests lagged, if wait was a five day or a seven day wait, then that has lagged a little bit. we are seeing turnaround times improving and working very hard to make sure that that is the case with our local health department turnaround time. we do not have a lot of control over the national labs. but we are truly redistributing labs across the state of indiana, have looked and sent to -- sent labs to an external lab in another state, and are continuing to investigate every possibility. i think the use of the point-of-care tests also at our local health department testing sites not only gives individuals an immediate response to you are symptomatic and, boom, your test is positive, so you need to isolate and we need to know who your close contacts are and here's the information for them. it also helps to take the burden off of our labs or decrease that burden. rachel: pierce with abc 57. gov. holcomb: good afternoon.
reporter: good afternoon. it is actually brian. pierce is my producer. back to state representative chrissy sussman, who announced her resignation because, she says, of your coronavirus restrictions on businesses. she runs the barns at napa nini , which is a restaurant and entertainment venue. she says it has been so difficult to run that business that she has had to do more work, take on more responsibilities, so she cannot be a full-time state legislator as well. she says there was no input or approval from state lawmakers on these covid restrictions. that they were your unilateral decisions. what's your response to that? will let her i speak for herself. reporter: but you will not respond to that? you do not run these kind of things by any state lawmakers, it is your decision to put in the restrictions along with the health department? gov. holcomb: ultimately, it is my responsibility.
and, as i said earlier, we are informed by multiple sources, including physicians, epidemiologists, scientists, business owners, various sectors, legislators, leadership. and i checked in with leadership on a regular basis over the last, you know, months, asking if there was any appetite whatsoever for a special session. and there was none. and so i've been seeking to continue to be collaborative. ultimately, in a public health emergency, and whether it is funding or agency decisions, the buck stops on my desk and that is my responsibility. we can debate it and we can certainly, and will continue to -- i will be doing more than a
a lot of meetings this week. and we will be doing, as i mentioned, next week, we are informing businesses in northern, central, and southern indiana, small, medium, and large, with organizations, with local officials. and so, you know, i would have welcomed her input. and still would. but i can't pretend to understand all of the intricacies of that business or the projected blame on any one individual. we are living through a public health emergency and we have got to rely on one another to get through it. rachel: carly with wpta. gov. holcomb: good afternoon. reporter: hello, my question is just -- county and local health officials who make changes and
restrictions. what types of things would you maybe recommend county by county be doing right now? well -- and, dr. box, you might want to talk about the local department of health office and how we are working with them to make sure that they have the information. i mentioned capacity limits, and again, this has to be tailored toward each locality and what they're experiencing and what testing and the tracing, and as we get more and more positive cases, tracing gets harder and harder and harder. -- maybe,u can talk dr. box, you can talk about that as well. but each local community, whether it be a mayor that we are talking to or the state of indiana, one might say we are having issues with in person church services. one might say that we were having issues with sports gatherings. they addressed those origins of
the spread. and that is what i would recommend, as we become informed about where this is occurring, addressing those issues. and if it is bars or gyms, if it is a curfew, if it is capacity, there is a whole long list of different approaches according to what is going on in that local community. and so that is why we have taken this approach of how do we work with our local government and local elected officials to weather the storm. dr. box, anything to add to that? dr. box: i would only add that i think we had several phone calls this week with not only the local public health individuals and the hospital representation, chief medical officers, cno's, and also ceo's, but we also included elected officials from those areas.
and it was a really good forum for elected officials to hear the struggles their hospitals in their region were having. and the difficulty in being able to make sure they could give optimal care to every patient that came through their doors. and so those kinds of things like, as you mentioned, governor, putting a curfew potentially on the area or making sure that individuals are understanding that you could put a sign on your door and should put a sign on your door that says no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service. we got used to the no shirt, no shoes. there is no reason we cannot get used to the no mask. encouraging them to make sure that if individuals want to come in and get service, this is what it is going to require. and if individuals are not able physically to wear a mask, there is home delivery for pretty much anything you want to get these days. and how we can help individuals do that. so we just go through bit by bit what those recommendations are and they pick and choose the ones that work the best for their communities. gov. holcomb: and i would say,
if i could, before we move on, what we are trying to do is avoid with the stress and strain of our health care network, we want to make sure folks are informed and they realize just what we might have to give up in terms of potentially elective procedures. or in a community. because it has been the case, where i have just experienced this personally, where people say, i didn't know how stressed our local hospital was. but it does make a difference when you see the positivity rate, when you see the spread, when you see the hospitalizations in your local community and you start to realize, you know, cancer patients or an elective procedure might have to be put on hold if we continue on this trajectory. so that is what we are trying to
prevent, and right now we are being reactive because we are at 12%, 11% positivity rate. we've got to get back down toward that 5% and then get to some months down. we look at this in the short-term and long-term simultaneous way. and that is short-term daily, weekly, and a month. long-term, we are looking at one month, three months, six months. we can see -- again, i want to give people hope going into thanksgiving that we will come around turn four and there will be therapeutics and vaccines available, multiple, and we've got the plan, as you heard dr. weaver in the past and dr. box talk about today, to deploy those. but until that time and then through it, we are going to have to practice these precautionary measures. dr. box: i think, governor, the point you made is really important. we can be very thankful that we do have vaccines that are
showing this kind of efficacy and this kind of safety with no major complications. we could right now be having a group of vaccines coming back showing that they really didn't work. we had no idea. and that there are major complications or side effects with it. so i feel very blessed and very thankful that this year, we do have that light at the end of the tunnel. but we've got to get past this burden right now and these high number of cases we have. the only way we are going to do that is if we start following these mitigation measures. rachel: bob with wthr. gov. holcomb: afternoon, bob. reporter: good afternoon, governor and dr. box. governor, i'm very pleased that are -- this is holcomb and mrs. holcomb are continuing to feel well. so thank you for taking my question. gov. holcomb: i'm eager to get back to work. reporter: i want to make sure you have background for my questions here today. this week, 13 news reported the
number of backlogged and pending unemployment claims in indiana had grown to more than 1.2 million claims by the start of this month, which is a significant increase from the backlog just a couple of months earlier. and i have received hundreds of desperate messages from hoosiers waiting for unemployment. many of whose claims have been delayed and pending for 4, 5, 6 , seven months or more. and a contracted worker who talked to these people every day, when they call the department of workforce call center helpline, says the department of workforce development will not allow the contracted workers to resolve simple issues that could help relieve the backlog of cases. and the whistleblower says those contracted workers, who the state has paid $15 million to over the past six months, and i quote, "really cannot help anybody at all because we are not allowed to." i actually have a couple of questions for you about that. one is what concrete steps, if
any, are being taken to help alleviate the large backlog of pending unemployment cases that the state is facing right now? second, will the state be shifting any resources so that the 300 contracted workers who answer the phones might instead actually be able to have the authority and training they need to resolve pending claims? and third, the state extended 's contract for an additional year and $8.5 million, when it appears the contractors answering the unemployment helpline really can't provide much help. and i'm wondering why the state chose to do that. gov. holcomb: yeah. fred payne, i think you are at the ready. would you please -- you have all three of those questions, but would you please articulate or share exactly the job what naviantand has been hired to do, how they
are doing it, and how the agency itself, adjudicators, etc., are following up, which are two different tasks? and then maybe you could, fred, also add, not as an excuse, but as part of the education, your efforts to make sure that fraud isn't overtaking tax dollars as well. fred: yes, governor. thanks. i think the question, understanding the question, i will just start off by saying that naviant was hired to help with an unprecedented volume of themants to help navigate throughout our call center. the contact center agents have provided significant help to hundreds of thousands of hoosiers. and we are very appreciative of the work they have performed and the dedication they have shown
as contract employees doing that work. is only a portion of the efforts to meet the needs of claimants during this pandemic. we have significantly increased the staff across the program. the role naviants played has been designed in part by the constraints placed on federal law and the complexity of the system and the time constraints of the pandemic. their work has been adjusted, as appropriate, in our system. and the work at the call center that the people are doing is helping folks every day. in they are not all engaged claims investigation work. specific issues that are outside of customer service calls. but keep in mind, claims investigation work requires thanficantly more training can be accomplished in a short
period of time. wedo have the ability and continue to move resources around to meet the demands and meet the needs. in terms of the number of claimants who are continuing to wait on claims that go beyond when he one days, first i will said fromin, as we the beginning, every eligible hoosier who applies for unemployment insurance benefits will be paid their benefits. we have not wavered from that. we have had more than 900,000 hoosiers request benefit payments. we have paid over 736,000 of those hoosiers to the tune of about $6 billion in benefits. now, the individuals who, at this point, are awaiting payment
, there are a variety of reasons for that. some of those in that number will include those who just filed for this week. they are waiting because of standard claims, adjuster issues, just some standard issues. some of them are going to be denied. not every individual who requests payment is eligible for payment. but then, i will also talk a little bit about the massive amount of fraud. if we ended up having a system that paid quickly and that we did not require individuals to jump through a few steps, then fraud would overtake our system. and right now, i think everyone is aware of the amount of fraud that is occurring in the united states right now. indiana is not one of the states or is not a state that is left out of that. so we are dealing with a lot of fraud. and we have put in a lot of measures to address fraud.
now, does that slow down our payment process? absolutely. we want to make sure that we are providing eligible hoosiers the payments and we are not getting payments out to those who don't deserve it. so we are continuing to work through that, and we are adjusting every week. when we end up seeing some of the downstream impact of some of the new processes that we had to put in place, or new programs we had to put in place, as you recall, when we put those new programs in place, we did them pretty quickly. we did them in a matter of days and weeks. not months and years. and when you're doing that, sometimes the troubleshooting that would necessarily be in place if you had months and a year to put those things in place, you can do those. so we do find, from time to
time, that there are some downstream impacts of troubleshooting that we have to adjust to. and we are doing that on a constant and a consistent basis. so i want to make sure that i do confirm that we are still paying hoosiers at a rate of 80% to 85% of those who file claims within 21 days. our claims that go beyond 21 days, it is not in the millions. that is not accurate. gov. holcomb: thanks, fred. rachel: that concludes today's briefing. governor holcomb's next briefing will be next wednesday at 2:30 p.m. eastern. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] c-span, yourching unfiltered view of government, created by america's cable television companies as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider.
>> wall street journal leaders know scott mccartney for his column. he has been on the airline and aviation beat for nearly two decades, joins us on zoom this day before thanksgiving. despite all the public health warnings and efforts to get people to stay home, air travel has hit an eight-month high this thanksgiving. has the amount of people willing to travel surprised you? guest: not really. i think for a lot of people, there have been mixed signals about travel. you have an airline industry that is pushing hard on the notion that travel is safe. there are dangers to it. and, you know, in some ways the , a more definitive warning about thanksgiving travel came late. we have seen a bit of a falloff in the number of people screened by tsa yesterday, down to 37% of