Coronavirus Markets Vs Science

CRANE — The vaccine mandates issued by President Joe Biden earlier this year are beginning to land in southern Indiana.

The president has ordered all military members, federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID by Nov. 22.

“That demand is supported in the safety protocol clause in all of the government contracts,” said Crane Director of Communications Sandy Zehr. “That leaves it up to the individuals who work here and the contractors to see that everyone is vaccinated.”

Zehr says it is not known how many people at the base may not yet be vaccinated. Crane is the second largest employer in southwestern Indiana behind Toyota. It has more than 4,000 civilian employees and contractors in and around the base account for another 1,100 workers.

If the vaccination rates at Crane are anything like those in the surrounding counties, there looks to be a lot of shots to be had before the deadline.

Around 36% of Daviess County has been vaccinated, 38% in Martin County, 43% in Greene County, 46% in Lawrence County and 57% in Monroe County.

“We are giving vaccinations every 15 minutes every day,” said Daviess County Public Health Nurse Kathy Sullender. “Most of those are for the third dose for seniors and people with health issues. We are beginning to notice some requests in the northern part of the county that may be in response to the mandates.”

Crane officials say at this point there is no plan for any mass vaccinations on the base.

“We don’t have the medical facilities to do that,” said Zehr. “There have been previous opportunities for people to get the vaccine in their communities. We would expect them to continue to do that.”

While the order for the vaccinations is out there, officials at Crane say there may still be some wiggle room.

“We know there will be some exemptions allowed for medical and religious beliefs,” said Zehr. “The exact details are still being worked out. I think we will know more in the coming week or so.”

That wiggle room and lack of detail appears to be keeping some folks on hold who are staring down the vaccination deadline.

“I don’t think the mandate is really pushing a lot of people yet,” said Sullender. “I think there are a lot of people who somehow think something will come along that will somehow let them avoid getting the vaccine.”

Under the mandate, employees who do not comply could be terminated.

The mandate comes as Daviess County is finally beginning to see a small fade in the number of cases being reported because of the spread of the delta variant. Daviess, Martin, Greene, Dubois, and Knox counties remain the state’s “orange” category, meaning the county still has a lot of spread of the disease. Pike County is in the “red” category meaning there is a high rate of spread there.

“Our situation is improving, but it is not enough to get us knocked down to ‘yellow’,” said Sullender.

While the cases may be slowly declining the death toll from the disease continues to rise.

Daviess County has had 110 people die as a result of COVID or COVID-related conditions. About four of those have been in the last few weeks.

“The deaths have ranged in age from 52 to 97,” said Sullender. “It is so sad when we have a death. None of those people were vaccinated.”

More than 4,400 COVID cases have been reported in Daviess County so far. That means one in every 8 people has been infected.

“We are vaccinating people at a slow, steady pace,” said Sullender. “Every shot helps and if the mandates bring more people in to get vaccinated then that will help even more.”

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