As Zionsville nears vaccinating 100 percent of its eligible residents against COVID-19, one town official pleaded for the surrounding community to get vaccinated to help slow the spread of the delta variant.
During the Zionsville Town Council’s Sept. 7 meeting, council member Dr. Alexander Choi said IU Health Methodist Hospital is being “overrun” by COVID-19 patients. Choi, who has served on the Zionsville Town Council since January 2020, is a practicing anesthesiologist at the hospital and is the president of Anesthesia Consultants of Indianapolis, a private practice.
“I know that we’re past part of COVID, and we are getting a second resurgence here,” Choi said. “I need the public to know to take this second resurgence fairly seriously. At IU Health, we have canceled in-patient elective surgeries because we are overrun in our ICUs. We’ve had to convert our regular patient rooms into intensive care units again. My group has redeployed a lot of our anesthesiologists into the intensive care units that help the intensive care doctors because they are overrun with critical patients.”
Choi’s plea comes as nearly all eligible Zionsville residents have been fully vaccinated. As of Sept. 8, 98.2 percent of Zionsville residents 12 and older were fully vaccinated, according to the Indiana State Dept. of Health. However, some surrounding communities have lower vaccination rates, including a large portion of Boone County. Neighboring Whitestown has fully vaccinated 87.8 percent of its eligible residents, but the remaining communities in Boone County had only vaccinated 55.3 percent of residents, according to the ISDH.
Health officials say vaccinations and mitigation strategies, such as wearing face masks in areas of high transmission, are the most effective ways to slow the spread of the disease and lower the risk of severe illness and death.
“Most of those patients that are intubated and on death’s doors are unvaccinated patients,” Choi said. “I mean, it is your choice whether or not you get the vaccine. But I will tell you that most of the people who are dying right now are unvaccinated patients. Yes, you do have patients every now and then who are vaccinated and do get sick, but, by and large, the vast majority of patients we see in our intensive care units are unvaccinated, so it is really making me upset right now that we are having so many people that are ending up unnecessarily in our intensive care units.”
Zionsville Town Council President Josh Garrett echoed Choi’s advice.
“Get vaccinated,” Garrett said.