Area professionals, Vigo County officials say the coming weeks important in fight against COVID-19

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – As COVID-19 cases increase locally, medical professionals and Vigo County officials say the upcoming weeks are critical.

As of Monday, there have been 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Vigo County with two of those resulting in death.

According to Vigo County’s health commissioner these are numbers that will continue to rise.

“We would all love to put this terrible ordeal behind us, but the reality is much different,” said Dr. Darren Brucken, Vigo County health commissioner. “The influx of illness that is associated with COVID-19 has yet to peak in the Wabash Valley.”

Brucken said the Valley could see a potential peak in deaths and illnesses related with COVID-19 over the next two to three weeks, but he also noted the virus’ impact can be determined by the community’s action.

“If we answer the bell to genuinely appreciate the seriousness of this infection as it continues to unfold, then we certainly can make a difference on the overall impact it will have when it has left us,” Brucken said.

Staff with Union Health and Regional Hospital said they are prepared and equipped to handle a surge in patients.

“We have an ICU that is only at a quarter capacity currently at Union with an extra unit available if necessary,” Dr. Prashant Patel of Union Health said.

In order to maintain these resources, Patel emphasized the community’s help will be needed.

“We feel that we are prepared, and now it’s a matter of working with the community to flatten the curve so we don’t overwhelm the capacity that we have built,” Patel said.

Brucken warned the public that now is the time to take guidelines seriously in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19.

“We have a two to three week interval. It’s our last window; it’s our last opportunity to do what we can to shut down the spread of the virus in the community,” Brucken said.

Officials encourage the community to continue practicing social distancing and limit non-essential trips.

Those who participate in outdoor activities, are asked to do so at a comfortable distance.

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