COLUMBUS — As the State of Indiana has wrestled with a record number of COVID-19 cases in recent days, in Bartholomew County, that increase has prompted health officials to roll back virus-related restrictions.
The county, which includes the City of Columbus, has gone from a 5.0 set of restrictions to 4.5. Restaurants, which had been allowed to operate recently at 100% capacity have been cut back to 75%, and for bars, capacity is now 50%. Event attendance is reduced from 500 to 250 people.
4.5 will be in effect for at least four weeks, according to County Health Officer Dr. Brian Niedbalski. His biggest concerns are patient capacity and staffing levels at Columbus Regional Health, the hospital that serves the region. Niedbalski says the hospital's Intensive Care Unit is near capacity.
The Bartholomew County Community School System went to virtual learning Monday, because of COVID concerns. Students will learn from home through Thanksgiving.
Dr. Niedbalski, who is also a family physician in Columbus, says social distancing guidelines, in many cases, aren't be followed at bars. He is also concerned that college students, coming home soon for Thanksgivng, may bring COVID with them.