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IU Health Official: 'We Haven't Turned The Corner' On COVID-19

Stickers at the Assembly Hall covid-19 vaccination site.

Stickers at the Assembly Hall COVID-19 vaccination site. (Alex Paul, WFIU/WTIU News)

Despite the good news on vaccinations and infection rates, the pandemic isn’t over.

IU Health South Central Region Chief of Medicine Dr. Dan Handel said Tuesday the numbers being reported are similar to cases being reported in the summer – and the numbers are not going down. He said numbers are hovering at the same levels as last July and August.

“I think the problem is we’ve gotten used to much worse, so we’ve gotten complacent with something that’s still pretty bad,” he said.

READ MORE: Indiana Expands Vaccine Eligibility To All Hoosiers 16+

He said patients with COVID-19 are still being admitted every day to IU Health hospitals in this region.

“We are not even close to herd immunity yet,” he said. “As the CDC says, we’re at the corner but we haven’t turned the corner yet.”

He says he’s concerned we could see a spike after the upcoming Easter weekend, when families traditionally gather. He encouraged people – even those who are vaccinated – to keep the groups they gather with small and to stay outside if weather permits.

He said masking and social distancing are still needed in situations in which not everyone is vaccinated, or you don’t know who has or hasn’t had their shots.

With vaccination registration opening this week to anyone over 16, wait times are growing at IU Health sites for those registering to be vaccinated. Handel said smaller, rural sites have faster availability if you are willing to travel.

He said more than 60,000 vaccines have been administered at IU Health facilities in Monroe and Orange counties.

Handel also said he expects schools will be able to open for in-person classes without much difficulty next fall. He praised the Monroe County Community School Corp. for its data-driven approach to how instruction is provided and said getting teachers vaccinated will help schools return to normalcy.

As for younger students: “The good thing about children, when you look at the data, there’s much lower rates of asymptomatic spreading.”

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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