Surging COVID-19 cases have Clark County leaders debating more restrictions

Surging COVID-19 cases have Clark County leaders debating more restrictions

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As COVID-19 cases surge both in Indiana and across the country, health and business leaders in Clark County are eyeing the trends and debating more restrictions.

“You know, we just try to work with them and approach this from kind of an angle of cooperation versus enforcement,” Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said.

Yazel told WAVE 3 News as of Monday afternoon data suggests Clark County will not move into the “red zone” designation yet. Still, the Clark County Health Department is debating stricter restrictions to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On Sunday, Governor Eric Holcomb’s executive order went into effect, rolling back Phase 5 of the state’s Back on Track plan. However, local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.

“Number one, make sure that we’re enforcing the social distancing as best we can and just a lot of community education and things" Yazel said. “But you may also see some seating capacity limits come back into play and things like that. But, we’re going to take a look at the data and talk with some of the surrounding counties of the metropolitan area and kind of make a good, informed decision on where to go next.”

Yazel acknowledged more guidelines would force businesses like restaurants to once again adapt to meet governmental demands.

Wendy Dant Chesser, President of One Southern Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said it’s hard for businesses to grow if they’re constantly forced to react to different situations. She said her organization will help businesses as best they can in the event that more restrictions are handed down.

“Our mission is to grow business, and we know that we can’t grow business as effectively until this dastardly virus is under control," Dant Chesser said. “And so we recognize that the public health officials are doing what they need to do to ensure that people will be safe, and that our businesses are going to have to continue to react until the virus is absolutely under control.”

As businesses prepare for what the future may bring, so too do hospitals in southern Indiana.

Brian Cox, Baptist Health Floyd’s director of hospital operations, told WAVE 3 News he is in constant contact with the state health department as well as with members of other regional hospitals to gauge hospitalization rates and how many beds are available.

Cox said his team has treated several patients from Clark County is prepared to do so in the future as well.

“We see a lot of patients from Clark County into our facility," Cox said. "It’s not just county-specific by hospital. So we have to work a lot with the sister hospitals there in Clark County and some of the smaller facilities in our surrounding tertiary counties to know, ‘Okay what are they seeing and how can we be of assistance in the need.’”

COVID-19 hospitalizations reached another record high in Indiana over the weekend. As of Sunday, 2,768 Hoosiers were in the hospital, with the virus. That number is more than double the number from a month ago and more than triple the number of hospitalizations from two months ago. Indiana reported more than 5,200 new cases of the coronavirus.

Indiana’s statewide positivity rate is now up to 22.6 percent.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.