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The Daviess County Health Department has once again put a stop to indoor visitation at area nursing homes. The order was issued late Monday following a climb in COVID-19 cases in the county.

“We have not so much seen an increase in the cases involving nursing home patients, but there has been a big increase in the number of people in the age 20 and up group that either work in or visit nursing homes,” said Daviess County Public Health Nurse Kathy Sullender. “We are doing this to try and protect our most vulnerable population.”

This is the third time that indoor visitations to nursing home and assisted living facilities have been shut down this year. The first time came under an order from Governor Holcomb in the spring. The other two were issued by the local health department.

“Many of the facilities in Daviess County have decided on their own to not have visitation indoors, so for them this will be no change,” said Sullender. “I think many families were expecting this with the flu season also about to begin. I know for some people this decision stinks because the weather is turning, but we have to protect the people in those facilities.”

The Daviess County Health Department says it has noticed a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the last week with at least 80 new cases being reported.

“We are coming off of fall break,” said Sullender. “There were a lot of weddings, a lot of people traveling, a lot of events. People get together and the result is COVID spreads.”

Not only are the case numbers rising but so are the number of serious cases. “We had two more deaths this past week,” said Sullender. “There are several more in the hospital. COVID is such a strange and unpredictable disease. Some people get it and don’t even know it. Others die from it. Some become incredibly sick, and there is no way to know who is going to be impacted in what way.”

Without a vaccine or cure, the health department is continuing to encourage people to wear masks, social distance and that people should use hand sanitizer and wash their hands often.

“One of the good things is that the schools have done a very good job of staying on top of things,” said Sullender. “We have not seen a lot of cases coming through the schools and that is good.”

Health officials are worried that the recent increase may just be the beginning of an even bigger wave of coronavirus cases this fall.

“Pandemics are no fun for anyone,” said Sullender. “We are concerned that we are headed toward a big surge in COVID cases unless something happens. That’s why we intend to keep this indoor visitation order in place until we see the number of cases come back down.”

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