COVID-19 Community Task Force Meeting Update

On August 4, the COVID-19 Community Task Force met to discuss several issues of concern with regard to COVID-19 and its spread in the community.

In recent weeks, data has indicated that the spread of the COVID-19 virus, specifically the Delta variant, has increased significantly in our community. As of August 3, 10 people were hospitalized locally for treatment. This is an increase from 1 person who was hospitalized just two weeks ago. Positive cases have continued to trend upward in recent weeks, with an increase in cases of over 25%. As a result, the CDC has designated Bartholomew County as a Significant Spread area.

“The increase in cases over a relatively short period of time is very concerning,” said Dr. Tom Sonderman, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Columbus Regional Health. “It shows what we already knew about this new variant of COVID-19 – that it is very easily spread among unvaccinated persons and vaccinated people can transmit the disease.

“Particularly concerning is that of those who are unvaccinated and are infected, the likelihood of serious illness and hospitalization is much higher than someone who is fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Sonderman.

Based on data from the CDC and Indiana State Department of Health, the Delta variant of the virus continues to rise in prevalence in our state and region, making it the overwhelmingly predominant strain in our community. Therefore, based on CDC guidelines for areas of significant spread, the COVID-19 Task Force strongly recommends masking in all indoor spaces, regardless of whether or not the individual is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

All members of the public will be encouraged to practice social distancing, mask wearing and hand-washing/sanitizing whenever possible. These practices are proven to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

In addition, the COVID-19 Community Task Force encourages all eligible members of the community to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccine has been shown to drastically decrease the potential for serious and even moderate illness. The vaccine is now available locally in multiple locations, including doctor’s offices. Find the nearest vaccine location by visiting https://covid19communitytaskforce.org/vaccines/.

Individual COVID-19 Task Force members will continue to examine the data provided to the Task Force, and will utilize this data to make decisions about the response of their individual entities. For questions regarding requirements at individual businesses and public places, please consult them directly for guidance.