Pulaski County gets 'Red' COVID-19 Designation from Indiana

NOW: Pulaski County gets ’Red’ COVID-19 Designation from Indiana

PULASKI COUNTY, Ind. - Officials in Pulaski County asked for patience from the community Wednesday after the county learned of its new designation in Indiana's county by county COVID-19 metrics. Health officials prepared for the red designation before the Wednesdays' announcement when they told all restaurants they had to close their indoor dining services. The county's positivity rate was measured at 15.29%, which was above the threshold for "red" designation. Small business owners said this does not bode well for them.

"It's devastating for our business," said One-Eyed Jack's Co-Owner Jenny Kasten. "This will be the third time things change drastically. We're just trying to keep going. It's hard. We're going to keep on doing carry-out."

Health officials like Pulaski County's Incident Management Team (IMT) Public Information Officer (PIO) Brian Ledley said they believe the spread came from the community letting its guard down around family, especially during Thanksgiving.

"It's just starting to spread," Ledley said. "So, we're seeing a lot of people who let their guard down when they were around family. So, they're going out for, maybe, a weekend meal or grandma's house for Sunday dinner, and unfortunately, COVID doesn't car who or where you're at. It spreads in every setting."

Daniel Reutebuch owns Bill and Babes near Winamac. He said the restrictions will force business elsewhere.

"We cannot survive on carryout alone," Reutebuch said. "The problem is now, you can just drive over to the next county and get food because we're the only county that's closed down right now."

Ledley said he wants the public to be patient. He said the county must get its positivity rate down to not only keep everyone safe but also to ease the burden on area hospitals.

"South Bend area, Lafayette area are two general areas where we would transport people, Fort Wayne as well," Ledley said. "The messaging is a lot the same that 'hey, we're full. Our ED's (emergency departments) are full. It's going to take a little bit before we can get them in here.' So, it just becomes hard. The COVID patient, you can stabilize. It's the heart attack or the stroke coming in that's the real critical need that we need to be able to get out of here where you're just going further out to try to find that availability."

Ledley said lowering the positivity rate is what ultimately will allow the local economy to open back up.

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