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Holcomb thinking about message sent by ending public health emergency

There are only three legislative changes Gov. Eric Holcomb said he needs lawmakers to make to ensure Indiana won’t lose hundreds of millions in federal funding tied to the pandemic by ending the state's public health emergency. (Alan Mbathi/IPB News)

Indiana is in the midst of one its worst surges of COVID-19 and state government leaders are still preparing to end the public health emergency in the near future.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has already laid out the technical side to ending the public health emergency. There are only three legislative changes he needs lawmakers to make to ensure Indiana won’t lose hundreds of millions in federal funding tied to the pandemic.

Beyond that, ending the emergency is a lot about symbolism – what message it sends to Hoosiers still dealing with COVID-19.

Holcomb said he’s aware of that.

“How you say it and when you do it and how you do it will be important to how it’s consumed or digested,” Holcomb said.

And Holcomb insisted many of the tools the state is already using won’t go away once the health emergency is technically over.

“We have mobile teams out right now. We have strike teams out right now," Holcomb said. "We’ve got Department of Health; we’ve got the Indiana National Guard. We’ve got hospitals – private sector hospitals – coming back in and saying, 'We need more help.'"

READ MORE: Indiana reports first case of COVID-19 variant omicron

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Lawmakers are expected to move quickly in January to pass a bill that will help end the public emergency.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.