Bartholomew County health officer issues new guidances; urges precautions

Dr. Brian Niedbalski, the Bartholomew County health officer, issued the following statement Friday, Aug. 27th.

“The current surge caused by the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to be felt locally and nationwide. Particularly concerning is that cases involving children and adolescents are occurring at rates not seen with previous variants. The overall rise in cases and hospitalizations is once again greatly impacting our healthcare systems, including regional children’s hospitals.

“I would like to stress, again, the importance of vaccinations, mask wearing, social distancing, and good hygiene. These are the weapons in our arsenal in the fight against COVID. Vaccines are still showing a significant reduction in serious cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Over 85% of COVID-19 hospitalizations nationwide involve the unvaccinated. Numbers don’t lie. Furthermore, the value of masking has been shown in multiple scientific medical studies. Do all of these measures succeed 100% of the time? No, but collectively, they are our best defense against a repeat of what we witnessed with COVID in late 2020. Our current numbers are quickly approaching that level, unfortunately.

“I want to recognize our city and county governments for taking the steps to require masking within their designated offices. BCSC should also be commended for continuing their mask mandate in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID and other respiratory illnesses within their schools. This is an important step to keep our kids in school and avoid a return to virtual learning.

“I hope that our local businesses will learn from these examples and require masking within their walls as well. As we approach the Fall and Winter months, it is uncertain what we may see with the current strain or additional strains of COVID-19. We may continue to see more virulent strains on the horizon. Now is the time to work as fervently as ever to stop the spread.”

Dr. Brian Niedbalski