VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT)—The Vanderburgh County Health board passed an amendment to cap all gatherings at 125 or less. The health department believes a wedding may have caused a spread of the virus. The board says its guidelines could cause a potential legal issue and fears some people will ignore hem.
“The health department makes recommendations or guidelines but actually approving a venue that then turns into a catastrophe because people don’t listen to what you say. I worry about holding us liable,” said Vanderburgh County Health Board Member Dr. Maria del Rio.
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke has been in communication with the Vanderburgh County Health Department, and local hospital leaders, outlining Evansville’s current COVID-19 restrictions, banning gatherings bigger than 125 people unless approved by the health department.
The details surrounding a recent contact tracing is making the health board concerned.
“Earlier this week, there was a wedding. I believe the actual ceremony was in the county and the reception was in the county, Vanderburgh County,” said Joe Gries, administrator at the Vanderburgh County Health Department. He said several people who tested positive for COVID-19 attended that wedding. “As of right now, I think we have 14 or 15 cases which have come out of that. One of the close contacts was in the wedding party and that person is, was getting married this coming weekend.”
Health department leaders say they had to intervene, alerting that bride’s venue of her COVID-19 exposure.
The upcoming wedding was set this weekend at a Posey County venue, but that won’t happen now. The venue officials say they would not open up for the wedding after learning the bride had been exposed at another wedding.
“I heard there was a person from one wedding who went to another and it’s very confusing so we want to hear it from you so we know the facts.”
Health department officials say it is likely for this spread of positive COVID-19 cases to be from another wedding a couple of weeks ago, but they don’t know for sure.
“The individual would not give us a name or any addition information and so we weren’t really able to track that, but it was reported to us that there were positive cases at another wedding,” explained Gries.
Nearly 40% of close contacts either won’t call the health department back or will refuse to give them any information.
(This story was originally published on October 29, 2020)