Vanderburgh hospitals overwhelmed with patients, officials urging people to get vaccinated

Coronavirus Watch

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – COVID cases in the Tri-State are rising specifically among children.

On Monday, board members of the Vanderburgh County Health Department sent a release calling on local government leaders and business leaders to immediately act on a new strategy to fight the virus. 

The statement sent by board members Monday afternoon lays out a worrying sign for Vanderburgh County in the middle of this pandemic. Children are now making up a majority of the cases – as hospitals in Vanderburgh County say they are running out of room to treat patients. 

“It’s horrifying, it’s terrifying, especially since we have the solution within our grasp,” explained Vanderburgh County Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave. 

The statement says children, pregnant women and all vulnerable individuals are threatened by the rising numbers of COVID-19 infections.

County hospitals could be at a breaking point, regional hospitals and essential staff are being overwhelmed by patients. Some elected county officials say this statement was past due – but it’s better late than never. 

“You go board of health, it’s about time you took a position on this, COVID is the biggest disaster the world has seen and it has certainly impacted all of our freedoms, especially our freedom in Vanderburgh County,” Musgrave said. “I’d like to be free, to get back to the kind of life we all used to live, to go places without masks and have all the events we would like to have.” 

In Vanderburgh County, the lowest vaccination rates are in the younger age ranges. Only about three percent of children 12 to 15 years of age are fully vaccinated.

“But the children are not vaccinated, they are at as much risk or greater than an adult because an adult can make the decision to get a vaccine the children cannot,” Musgrave said. 

The statement says hospitalization numbers for COVID patients are the highest they have ever been and officials say 98 percent of patients admitted were not vaccinated.

Some city officials say the statement wasn’t explained enough. 

“I think it’s great they are issuing a press release letting people know our numbers are very high because it has been that way for several weeks,” Evansville City Councilor Missy Mosby. “There have been no guidelines or steps on what to do to make things better.” 

The Evansville Mayor’s Office said they have already been doing their part to curb rising case numbers.They have been providing METS buses to the health department for mobile clinics around the city since May.  

Vanderburgh County Health Administrator Joe Gries declined an on camera interview instead he forwarded us to the health board. Attempts to reach members of the board were unsuccessful and calls were not returned by the time of this report.

Health officials are asking everyone to get vaccinated, wear masks, even if you’re not vaccinated, in schools and large gatherings, social distance and wash your hands regularly.

Also on Monday, Memorial Hospital in Jasper announced they are cancelling all non-urgent surgical procedures for the next two weeks.

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