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WATCH: State officials, healthcare providers continue pleas for people to help slow COVID-19 spread

Posted at 2:31 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 18:02:55-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Healthcare providers and state officials are continuing their pleas for the community to do their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box, and healthcare leaders continued their pleas during a press conference Wednesday.

They all are urging people to wear face masks, wash their hands, practice social distancing, and listen to the science.

“We need to trust the science,” Dr. Eric Fish, president and CEO of Schneck Medical Center said. “We have to stop making this public health emergency a political issue. This is not a Democrat versus Republican issue. It’s a matter of care, concern, and regard, for your family, your friends, and your neighbor’s health and well-being.”

Sarah Paturalski, vice president of nursing and clinical services at Beacon Health System, says nurses want the best for patients but the pandemic is stretching them thin.

The increase in patients and deaths are having an emotional toll on healthcare providers and hospital employees, Paturalski said.

"The emotional toll that this pandemic has created for everyone who works in healthcare will have a very long-lasting effect," Paturalski said. "This is not normal for us."

She says they have brought in on-site crisis counselors to facilities to talk to staff in the moment.

"This is also not normal," Paturalski said. "This is very hard for people."

Dr. Mark Luetkemeyer, chief medical officer at IU Health Methodist and University hospitals, says more than 680 workers throughout the IU Health system were in quarantine and unable to work as of Wednesday. He said there are about 34,000 employees throughout the entire IU Health system.

He says they are looking for additional help outside the IU Health system so they can continue providing care to patients.

You can watch their full remarks from the press conference in the player above.

Holcomb joined the press conference by phone as he is in quarantine after members of his security detail tested positive for COVID-19. He is expected to be tested later this week.

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You can watch the press conference below: