IU Health COVID-19 response: Capacity limits mean dialing down elective procedures, shifting patients to deal with recent surge

At IU Health’s hospital in Bloomington, the area’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases has pushed administrators to find ways to make space for new patients.

A month ago in Monroe County, the seven-day average of confirmed new positive COVID-19 cases had settled around 2. That has increased to around 17 at the end of July. Not every positive case requires hospitalization. But those increased numbers have pushed IU Health’s Bloomington facility towards its capacity.

On Friday, MaryAnn Valenta, IU Health’s regional director for strategic integration, said the hospital is responding to the recent surge by reducing the number of elective procedures and transferring patients to other hospitals inside and outside the region. Where they’re transferred is based on “the location that makes the most sense to each patient based on bed capacity.”

Valenta’s remarks came during Friday’s weekly press conference on COVID-19 response with local leaders from the city, county and university. Continue reading “IU Health COVID-19 response: Capacity limits mean dialing down elective procedures, shifting patients to deal with recent surge”

Bloomington mayor renews call for local income tax increase, reduces ask from 0.5 percentage points to 0.25; says 2021 budget for sworn police officers will decrease

Bloomington’s mayor John Hamilton has renewed his call, made at the start of the year, for the Bloomington city council to increase the local income tax.

cropped Hamilton Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 3.51.31 PM
Screen shot of Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s July 16, 2020 Facebook video. (Image links to video.)

Such a tax would apply to all residents of Monroe County.

The additional revenue from the income tax would still go towards climate action and sustainability initiatives. But the 0.25-percentage-point increase suggested by Hamilton on Thursday is half the 0.5-point increase that Hamilton had proposed on New Year’s Day.

Another highlight from Thursday’s message from the mayor, which could be overshadowed by reaction to the income tax proposal, is an indication that recent calls to “defund the police” have resonated with the mayor at least a certain degree.

From the mayor’s Thursday speech: “Our budget for 2021 will propose significant changes in the police department, including reductions in funding of badged officer positions and increases in non-badged positions…” Continue reading “Bloomington mayor renews call for local income tax increase, reduces ask from 0.5 percentage points to 0.25; says 2021 budget for sworn police officers will decrease”

Advisory groups give green light to city council on 7th Street: Remove parking for protected bicycle lane

College to Walnut Screen unimproved 7-Line aerial 10.33.35 PM
Segment of 7th Street between College Avenue and Walnut Street in downtown Bloomington.
College to Walnut Screen 7-Line aerial 10.33.35 PM
The images shows the segment of 7th Street between College Avenue and Walnut Street. The top image shows current parking and lane conditions. The lower image is a rendering of the 7-Line protected bicycle lane project. Both images link to an animated .gif of them alternating.

On Thursday, at its first regular meeting since the end of January, Bloomington’s parking commission reviewed the protected bicycle lane project that’s going to be built on 7th Street sometime in 2021.

It was in front of the commission because the 7-Line, to be built as a two-way bicycle path on the south side of the roadway, will require the removal of 113 on-street metered parking spaces. It’s the loss of parking spaces that has generated some concern among property owners along the corridor, among them the Monroe County government.

Parking commissioners gave a unanimous recommendation in support of the planning and transportation staff’s finding—that the three-quarter-mile bicycle lane from the B-Line Trail to the Indiana University campus at Woodlawn supports several goals of the city’s comprehensive plan and squares up with the city’s transportation plan.

As Beth Rosenbarger, Bloomington’s planning services manager, pointed out to parking commissioners, the city’s transportation plan calls for a protected bicycle lane along 7th Street. Continue reading “Advisory groups give green light to city council on 7th Street: Remove parking for protected bicycle lane”

May 7 Bloomington Primary Election: A Nonpartisan Resource

Twenty-three candidates for 11 city offices are on the ballot for Bloomington voters in the May 7, 2019 primary election – all but one of them Democrats. And this year, all but two of the Democratic Party primary races are competitive.

Bloomington Primary Candidates 2019
Candidates in the May 7 Bloomington primary.

To help voters research their choices for Bloomington mayor, clerk and council, we’ve compiled a nonpartisan resource guide that profiles each candidate in the May 7 primary.

Here’s a link to the guide: Bloomington City Primary Elections 2019

In addition to biographical background, the profiles include links to each candidate’s online campaign information (website, social media, email) as well as links to campaign finance documents filed with the Monroe County clerk’s office.

Each profile also provides links to relevant news articles from a variety of sources, a listing that will be updated throughout the election cycle.

To register to vote, check your registration status or find your polling location, go to the Indiana Voter Portal. The deadline to register to vote in the May 7 primary is Monday, April 8.

Early voting starts on Tuesday, April 9.

Hey, Wait a Minute | Is Bloomington in southern Indiana?

Note: “Hey Wait a Minute” is an occasional B Square Beacon series that highlights meeting minutes and other documentation of local government group meetings in the Bloomington, Indiana area. Sometimes, arriving at the connection to meeting minutes takes a long walk around the block.

The online world is a mostly a peaceful place where people share facts and thank each other for the useful information. But yesterday someone was wrong on the internet. So a mild fracas broke out.

Here’s the kerfuffle-inducing question: Is Bloomington considered southern Indiana? (Yes.) Continue reading “Hey, Wait a Minute | Is Bloomington in southern Indiana?”