Tri-State mayors, hospital officials urge people not to get together for Thanksgiving

Tri-State mayors, hospital officials urge people not to get together for Thanksgiving

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Mayor Lloyd Winnecke was joined by Henderson Mayor Steve Austin, Mount Vernon Mayor Bill Curtis, Princeton Mayor Greg Wright, and Boonville Mayor Charlie Wyatt for a press conference.

Executives from Deaconess and Ascension St. Vincent also spoke.

They urged everyone to stay home during Thanksgiving in order to help with mitigating the COVID-19 spread.

Hospital leaders shared major future concerns, saying Thanksgiving gatherings could be the driving force that pushes them over the limit in regard to space availability.

14 News is learning that Evansville hospitals are seeing patient numbers three times higher than the previous peak in the area.

Deaconess Health System CEO Shawn McCoy says nearly 9% of COVID-19 positive patients end up in the hospital. He added the virus taking a toll on health workers.

“For us, it’s a daily struggle for staffing, and that’s what I referenced earlier - we’re at or near capacity almost every day,” McCoy said. “And our job is to get that message to the public that you could do your part — you could social distance, you can wear a mask and you can prevent those hospitalizations. That 9% has been steady now for months. If you’re COVID positive, you have a 9% chance of being hospitalized. That’s where we really need the public’s help.”

Winnecke addressed the college population returning home for the holiday.

“This is the year to not get together with your high school buddies, your high school group and go to a bar, or go running around - this is the year to not do that,” Mayor Winnecke said. “We understand that this next week will be very busy and the desire will be to get together with your high school classmates to share experiences from the last year. We ask that you, again, make smart decisions and not emotional decisions.”

14 News also learned that Deaconess and Asension St. Vincent have had to bring in doctors and nurses from around region in recent weeks. However, hospital officials say all patients have been accommodated locally so far.

You can watch the full press conference in the video below:

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