Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke discuss COVID-19 response

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INDIANAPOLIS (WEHT)- Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb welcomed mayors from across Indiana, including Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, to discuss their local response to COVID-19.

This comes the same day as Indiana State Health Commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box announced a targeted drive-thru testing facility will be coming to Vanderburgh County. Dr. Box says the facility will be used to diagnose symptomatic health care workers, long term care facility employees, first responders, and other essential workers.

Mayor Winnecke discussed how Evansville and southwestern Indiana is reacting and responding to COVID-19. Winnecke says the Evansville Police Department is stressing social distancing and reference the music video the department made, set to “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by the Police.

Winnecke says “practically” every administrative employee is now working remotely, adding that Evansville is fortunate that only two city employees have tested positive for COVID-19: a METS dispatcher and a police detective. Winnecke says they are both in “various stages” of treatment and recovery.

However, Winnecke mentioned that the pandemic has created a budget impact on the city, which receives about $1 million per month in casino revenue, according to Winnecke. To address the loss of casino revenue, Winnecke says the city council has approved a $2.8 repeal to the city’s 2020 capital budget.doing exceptional work, helping the homeless, raising significant amounty money for nonprofits

Winnecke says COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund of the Greater Evansville Region represents the “big heart of southwest Indiana, really shining through,” adding that they are looking to raise $6 million for non-profit organizations in the human services sector.

Winnecke also highlighted the Need a Neighbor program, which matches people in need with others who can help, from getting necessities to calling those in need.

During spring break, volunteers helped provide lunches for students and families in need. Winnecke mentioned a self-isolation center for Evansville’s homeless population at the Sarto Retreat Center in north Evansville, where homeless people can wait and stay isolated while they wait for COVID-19 test results

Winnecke highlighted the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce, which “retooled” its website to provide information for small businesses affected by COVID-19 and also has list of which restaurants in the area are open for pickup and delivery orders. Winnecke says the city is working to defer loan payments for small business for at least four months.

Winnecke called the health care collaboration between Deaconess, Ascension St. Vincent, and Vanderburgh County Health Department “really, really impressive.”

Governor Holcomb said he’s thankful for Winnecke’s leadership.

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(This story was originally published on April 7, 2020)

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