The city of Fishers is urging residents to stay home and is considering new restrictions—including canceling extracurricular school activities and limiting many indoor gatherings to 10 people—to try to stem a steep rise in the count of COVID-19 cases.
And in a video released early Wednesday, Mayor Scott Fadness said it is vigilant social distancing and wearing masks, even around family and friends, that could prove to be the most important in slowing the spread of the virus. In fact, he said families must begin to rethink their holiday plans to stay safe.
“We need to be as careful in private as we are in public,” Fadness says in the video, posted on his Twitter account. That means having “hard conversations about our holiday plans this year.”
“It won’t be easy. I know that,” he said. “We’re all feeling the fatigue of these long months.
Fishers Public Health Director Monica Heltz said Tuesday night she will ask the Fishers Board of Health to approve a list of new restrictions at a Friday afternoon meeting. Those restrictions do not include a stay-at-home order. Instead, the city is recommending that residents stay home, except for outings related to work, grocery shopping and other important activities.
The health department has been using factors such as the positivity rate, number of cases and hospitalizations to determine the city’s coronavirus risk level. Fishers’ risk rating is listed as “severe,” or “red,”—its most severe rating.
According to the city’s pandemic data dashboard, there have been 477 new positive cases and one new death from COVID-19 reported in Fishers over the last two weeks. The city’s rolling seven-day testing-positivity rate, based on the Hamilton County rate published by the state, was 16.6% for testing of unique individuals and 10.3% for all tests.
But Fadness said taking action can improve the numbers.
“Our data shows that mitigation efforts work when we do them,” he said in the video.
Covid 19 numbers are at record levels in Fishers. Please watch this important message. pic.twitter.com/WvaPIwFuit
— Scott Fadness (@ScottFadness) November 11, 2020
The Fishers Health Department said social gatherings have been identified by contact tracers as the primary source of the spread. It said infections are widespread throughout the community without any concentrated areas, and people of all ages appear to be equally affected. The department continued to say there is a strong indication that schools remain a safe place for students in terms of the likelihood of transmission.
The health department’s recommendations include a public health order that would:
- cancel school-sponsored extracurricular activities;
- prohibit bar seating at restaurants and taverns;
- limit table seating at restaurants to eight people;
- mandate that masks be worn at restaurants until food arrives except for temporary removal for drinking beverages (current mask guidelines don’t call for mask-wearing at tables);
- limit sporting events to one spectator per participant;
- limit groups to eight people or less at confined entertainment facilities, to 10 people at indoor social gathering in banquet halls or conference centers, and to 25 people maximum at outdoor gatherings.
Heltz said the health board should recommend the general population:
- avoid gatherings in homes, workplaces and churches;
- stay at home except for essential services;
- use curbside delivery, carryout or home delivery;
- work from home and increase sanitation protocols.
She also plans on recommending gyms and retail establishments have special hours for high-risk individuals.
For schools, she’s recommending new requirements in the significant (orange) and severe (red) risk categories. Heltz recommends all school-sponsored extracurricular activities to be canceled any time the city’s risk level is “severe.” She’s also recommending an entire class be quarantined if even one case is found among its students.
Friday’s 4 p.m. Fishers Health Department meeting will be live-streamed at https://tinyurl.com/FishersCityHall. The recorded meeting will be available 24 to 48 hours following the meeting on the city’s YouTube channel.