As you know, COVID-19 trends are going in the wrong direction for southwest Indiana. Last week, IN State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box, was in Evansville and shared data indicating problem areas in District 10 (Vanderburgh is 1 of 12 counties). Attached is the 2-week “snapshot” of testing data, hospital admissions, ICU/ventilator availability, and identified cluster locations from contact tracing. For your reference, the state dashboard updates daily – https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/2393.htm.
Keeping that information in mind, Mayor Winnecke and the Reopen Evansville Task Force continue to work in several areas.
Here are a few updates to keep everyone informed and engaged:
- Large Gatherings – On Monday, October 19th, any gathering (inside the city limits only) of over 125 will need to have an approved health & safety plan approved by the Vanderburgh County Health Department. Here is the link to the form: https://vanderburghhealth.org/event-review/. Why 125? Local and state health officials agreed that was a manageable figure for contact tracing. Obviously, it is subject to change depending on continued COVID-19 trends. For your reference, the Mayor’s Executive Order is also attached. Please note that the order currently does not impact church services or private businesses. It is meant to address social gatherings.
- Targeted Outreach – Based on contact tracing data and the District 10 report, the Vanderburgh County Health Department and the Task Force are pro-actively reaching out to specific industry clusters to meet their COVID-19 related needs and ensure a direct line of communication. For example, the Mayor will be hosting a meeting on Monday with local school leaders to discuss winter sports guidance from the IHSAA and how to better educate our local youth sports organizations on best practices, etc. Another example is the Vanderburgh County Health Department who has done a fantastic job of communicating and working with the long-term care facilities in Vanderburgh County. These relationships and lines of communication are incredibly important for contact tracing purposes.
- Restaurant Town Hall – Early in the pandemic, workshops with industry groups were helpful, particularly with local restaurants/bars. These peer groups will continue to be developed through a partnership between local economic development organizations and the City of Evansville. Next week, the Chamber of Commerce of SW IN, Small Business Development Center and the City of Evansville will be hosting a Town Hall event for local restaurants/bars. Registration etc. will be sent out via social media soon.
PPE / Testing – The Task Force continues to assist local organizations with PPE needs. 30,000 disposable masks were delivered this week. As for testing, both Deaconess and Ascension St. Vincent have the testing capacity, along with the Optum Testing Site at CK Newsome. Anyone can register at www.lhi.care/contesting or by calling 888-634-1116.
- Food Security Commission – One of the takeaways from the pandemic is the need to coordinate our community food resources/organizations more efficiently, thus a Food Security Commission is being developed via city code. More to come, but we also encourage everyone to spread the word about the Feed Evansville initiative, which is always in need of volunteers. Get involved at https://www.facebook.com/feedEVV/.
- State Assistance – The Mayor’s Office is in discussion with the Governor’s Office on many pandemic related issues. Everything from enhanced contact tracing at the local/regional level, additional enforcement support from the ATC/Fire Marshall to ways that our health departments in southwest Indiana can coordinate more efficiently on a regional level are top of mind. The strong line of communication will continue as the state is ready and willing to support locals as much as possible.
- Medical Advisory Group – We cannot thank our health and medical professionals enough! Deaconess, Ascension St. Vincent, and the Health Department have been great partners throughout the pandemic, particularly when our local officials are making decisions impacting the community.
Lastly, we need your help in spreading the following messages:
- Stage 5 does not mean everything goes back to normal! Restrictions are still in place and a synopsis of the Governor’s presentation at Wednesday’s briefing is attached.
- Wearing a mask remains the most important tool to combat COVID-19. Washing hands, good hygiene and social distancing are all actions that need to become part of our daily routines.
- Get the Flu Vaccine. There are numerous free options, just check out https://vaccinefinder.org/.
- Please follow, re-post, use hashtags, share and like the information on our social media accounts to get accurate information out to the public.
- Facebook: @LloydWinnecke, @DeputyMayorSteveSchaefer, @VCHDevv, @StateHealthIN, @DeaconessHealthSystem, @AscensionStVincent
- Twitter: @ReopenEvv, @MayorWinnecke, @sschaefer01, @VCHDevv, @StateHealthIN, @deaconessnews, @StVincentIN, @GovHolcomb
THANK YOU for reading this long update. Feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or recommendations.
Chair, Reopen Evansville Task Force