Vanderburgh Co. Health Board only considering approval of events with no more than 125 people

Spikes in COVID-19 cases traced to recent weddings

Vanderburgh Co. Health Board only considering approval of events with no more than 125 people

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Vanderburgh County Health Board held a virtual meeting Thursday evening.

Coronavirus was front and center of the discussion, but we also discovered that changes in leadership will be coming to the health department.

Health board members have now voted to approve the Vanderburgh County Health Department’s plan to try to keep parties from becoming super-spreader events.

14 News is learning the health department intends to only approve event-plan applications with no more than 125 people attending. Events exceeding that limited are not likely to be approved.

“I think what is really concerning to the health department is what they see as a total lack of regard on the part of many people, who are going to events knowing they are positive or knowing that have been exposed,” Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said.

Officials say a wedding took place with COVID-19 being the uninvited guest, and the result was 15 new positive cases.

Additionally, health officials say someone from that wedding who tested positive is also getting married soon.

“The numbers are driven by personal behavior," the Mayor added. "And, when people knowingly do things knowing they are positive, or knowing they have been exposed, but still go out, it’s immensely frustrating.”

Health officials pushed that couple to postpone the wedding, but we are told they were unwilling. Eventually the venue operators called off the wedding to protect their employees.

Vanderburgh Co. Health Board only considering approval of events with no more than 125 people

County leaders previously said a national response was needed, but never came. 14 News talked to Commission President Jeff Hatfield by phone who says everyone has a personal responsibility to follow masking and social distancing guidelines, but went on to say individual counties or cities cannot be shut down and expect it to work long term.

“These type of actions, I get it." Hatfield expressed. "I understand. But the other part of this, whether it’s city or county government, we don’t have the resources to enforce these things.”

14 News also learned Thursday that Dr. Ken Spear, the department’s health officer, will retire at the end of December.

The board voted to form a search committee to look for the new director.

The committee is expected to make a recommendation to the board.

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