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Vanderburgh County Health Officials Discuss Orange Zone Restrictions

The Board of Health met Thursday to discuss Governor Holcomb's executive order placing new size limits on social gatherings in counties currently in the orange and red on Indiana's COVID-19 color-coded map.

Posted: Nov 12, 2020 11:20 PM

After several days with counts crossing the 100 case mark, Vanderburgh County is now one of Indiana's hardest hit communities.

It is currently classified as "orange" on the state's color coded map.

Vanderburgh County Health Department Administrator Joe Gries said those days have been adding up.

"Over the past two weeks, from the 24th of October through the 6th of November there were 1258 new cases," he said.

With Governor Holcomb's latest executive order placing new restrictions on gatherings in orange and red counties, the Vanderburgh County Board of Health met Thursday to determine next steps moving forward.

Members discussed the 50 person cap on social gatherings for the county, questioning whether that number was approproate or if it needed to be reduced further. It didn't take long for the board to come to a decision.

"I think we treat everybody the same," said VCHD Health Officer Dr. Kenneth Spear. "If later on they relax, obviously we can relax too but right now we have the backing of the governor to stay at 50 and no more."

While the Board of Health agrees the new limit on social gatherings is the right choice, it thinks the county needs to do even more.

"We need to make an awareness campaign with 6-foot distancing, wear your mask, wash your hands, use your hand sanitizer and if we can we would like to start our own contact tracing locally," Dr. Spear said.

Right now, health officials don't know of any specific events causing the surge in cases across the county. That's because many of those testing positive are not completing their contact tracing.

"65% of these folks aren't completing their initial interviews," Gries said. "Which is really difficult and makes it hard for us to gather better data to provide to local government leadership like the board to try and make some sound decisions."

The board hopes through improved contact tracing the community will be better able to control the spread of the virus. 

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We're going to be looking out for another brutally hot afternoon throughout the Tri-State; afternoon highs should peak in the mid to high 90s with heat indices approaching and even surpassing 105°. As for the remainder of the evening, one can expect much of the same - temperatures will stick around the upper 80s through at least dinnertime before dipping to 80° or so by 10PM. By that time there is a good potential of some rainfall and storms picking up across the Tri-State. There is a chance we could see some severe weather develop with these storms. We'll start to see relief return Friday afternoon into Saturday.
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