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New Allen County COVID-19 restrictions to impact bars, restaurants and events

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INDIANA STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH RED THRESHOLDS
DR. SUTTER ALLEN COUNTY COVID UPDATE 11 17 2020

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA21) - Allen County's top health officials announced new COVID-19 restrictions that will impact bars, restaurants, gyms, and large events.

Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter said he is expanding on statewide restrictions for communities seeing increased community spread of the virus.

"Internally, we're calling this so freaking red you should stay home," Dr. Sutter said.

"Winter is coming. As we've seen, this virus gets worse in the winter months."

Allen County health commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter announces new restrictions that go into effect Sunday.

Here's what is changing:

Restrictions for Allen County in the Red Zone

  • The Allen County Health Department will not approve events for more than 100 participants.
    • This is extended to sports leagues and tournaments, as well.
  • Restaurants and bars will operate at 50 percent capacity indoors. They can have 100 percent capacity outdoors.
  • Bars and restaurants are ordered closed between hours of midnight at 5 a.m.
  • No bar seating, salad bars, or self-service.
  • Gyms will operate at 50 percent capacity.
  • Salons will not be restricted because folks can effectively wear a mask.

These changes will go into effect on Sunday, Nov. 22.

Read the full order here:

Allen-County-Public-Health-Order-11-17-2020

Dr. Sutter said the current upward trend of COVID-19 cases is what medical professionals call exponential growth, meaning cases are doubling every 7 days.

Last week, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order that requires tighter COVID restrictions for counties that are "orange" and "red" on the state's COVID map.

RELATED: Gov. Holcomb: no new statewide COVID restrictions

Indiana's online COVID-19 dashboard has a color-coded grade for each county based on the 7-day positivity rate for all tests and weekly cases per 100,000 residents.

Allen County is one of 87 counties in the orange, but by Wednesday, Dr. Sutter anticipates Allen County will be in the red.

Holcomb said counties in the "orange" zone will be limited to gatherings of 50 people or less, and those counties in the "red" zone will be restricted to gatherings of 25 people or less.

Holcomb made it clear adding additional restrictions would be up to local county health boards.

When Allen County returns to the orange zone, Dr. Sutter said his department will not approve gatherings or events with more than 250 participants.

The Allen County Health Department's contact tracing team of 10 is trying to contact those who are infected each day, but are overwhelmed and only able to reach about a-third of the cases they need to.

As local officials have reiterated in the past week, hospitals have enough beds and ventilators. What is at risk is a loss in medical staff due to exposures.

"I want to move this bend down and give the hospitals a fighting chance," Dr. Sutter said.

Allen County's average daily case count is now more than 400 cases.

Dr. Sutter said hospitals locally are not overwhelmed just yet, but if we don't tamp down cases, they will be.

On Tuesday, 9 more Allen County residents lost their lives to the novel coronavirus and 304 others now have infections.

Allen County now has a total of 14,889 confirmed positive cases and 273 deaths.

Effective Monday, Nov. 23, the City of Fort Wayne will shut down Citizens Square except those deemed essential employees. Most employees will work from home until Jan. 19, Mayor Tom Henry said.

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Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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