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'It's scary because we want this to be over' Local healthcare workers concerned about COVID-19 surge

Contributing factors could lead to spike in cases
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Posted at 7:48 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 19:48:58-04

"It's scary because we want this to be over,” said Claire Roembke, R.N. Manager of Infection Prevention for Franciscan Health.

Roembke says between NCAA tournament fans gathering for watch parties and Spring Breakers, she’s worried about a rise in cases of COVID-19 in Indiana.

"There is a lot of concern with where we are going in the next four weeks or so. Public areas, restaurants and the downtown streets have been very busy and its everybody in the same locations,” said Roembke.

People we spoke to on Monday who were downtown over the weekend felt there were not any issues.

“I didn’t think it was too crowded at all. I felt totally safe,” said Camila Jacobi, who is from Indianapolis and now lives in Fishers.

“Never, never too many people,” said Lori Kohl who was in town from Texas.

An event at the Bottleworks District was put on the Marion County Health Department’s radar on Saturday.

Carrolton Avenue was shut down for the district’s ‘B-Ball Bash’ event.

Crowds of people gathered and watched the games on two big screens.

A spokesperson from the health department released a statement to WRTV about the situation:

“The Marion County Public Health Department has been working closely with event organizers, public safety, and public health partners to ensure games and other festivities in the month of March are conducted with adequate safety measures in place. In addition to reminders that residents and visitors follow established guidelines and protocols to keep everyone living, working, and playing in our community safe and healthy, we have stepped up enforcement measures in and around the downtown area and will continue these efforts in the coming weeks. After being notified of a potential public health hazard, we dispatched inspectors to make sure critical safety measures are followed.”

Bottleworks District staff declined WRTV’s request for comment on Monday. However, in an interview prior to the event, an organizer said they had spaced out tables to help with social distancing.

"We've got everything spaced out as you can see. Obviously, we recognize that we are still in a situation where things need to be spaced out which is why we chose to do this event outside we felt like that gave us the best path to safety,” said Ryan Hickey, Director of Entertainment and Programming with Geronimo Hospitality Group.

Roembke wants to remind people that the pandemic is not over. Those returning to Indiana from Spring Break locations and those who are participating in tournament watch parties need to continue to exercise caution.

"I know people are very anxious to get over this but unfortunately the more we continue to go out there and act like it’s not occurring the more likely it is to extend this period of time,” said Roembke.