Fort Wayne mayor: ‘Be prepared’ for coronavirus impact; no mandated quarantine

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Health officials seek input on coronavirus impact

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry was joined by Allen County Department of Health officials, the Allen County Commissioners and other government leaders to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak Friday afternoon.

According to Mayor Tom Henry, the group of community leaders have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation on a daily basis. He encouraged the public to be aware of surroundings and limit activities in large group settings, but said that people must go on with their daily lives.

“Be prepared, but do not panic,” Mayor Henry said.

The mayor clarified that closures and suspensions of events in the city are being done as preventative measures and not as a result of a government directive. A restriction has been put in place on out of state and international travel for city employees. He reiterated the tips for social distancing and keeping clean.

“Local governmental bodies plan for worst case scenarios on a regular basis,” a statement from the mayor’s office said. “If work schedules for government employees or accessibility to public spaces need to be altered, leaders will respond accordingly in the best interest of the health and well-being of the public. The City and County will follow guidelines and recommendations from the local department of health and state and federal experts and authorities.

“The City’s divisions and departments stand ready to respond to any emergencies. Public safety (police/fire/animal care and control), water filtration plant operation, water pollution control (wastewater) plant operation, neighborhood code compliance, maintenance of Parks and Recreation facilities, street department functions, and finance are leading examples of critical areas of service.”

Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters took to the mic, suggesting businesses look for every possible way to communicate and do business online and via technology.

County leaders have been considering how best to keep the government up and running throughout the spread of COVID-19, according to Peters.

Words of reassurance also came from New Haven Mayor Steve McMichael about the continuation of government and public safety services.

“Your city will be there for you,” McMichael added.

Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deb McMahan continued her talking points in slowing the spread of COVID-19. She stressed the importance of limiting person-to-person contact, explained that numbers of cases are low because testing has been limited and asked that emergency room visits are kept for those with serious health issues.

“Yes, you may survive from COVID-19, but you may give it to someone who won’t,” Dr. McMahan added.

The Department of Health is looking for input on how the community handles COVID-19. CLICK HERE to take the survey.

On Thursday, after hours of discussion, the Allen County Board of Health pushed off decisions on the possible closing of schools, venues, churches and other businesses due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Leaders from Fort Wayne Community Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools as well as the Memorial Coliseum, Parkview Field, Embassy Theatre, Clyde Theatre, Turnstone, World Baseball Academy, Visit Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Komets and others met with the Board of Health Monday to talk about the spread of the coronavirus.

The board considered recommendations for school systems ranging from county-wide closures, to school-by-school closures to establishing the so-called ‘social distancing’ in classrooms. The impacts of school closures on the community were also discussed as word spread of state-wide school closures in Ohio.

A working group of school leaders was set to meet Friday at noon to further discuss options and how to handle potential closures. The decision on the board’s recommendation is expected to be made Monday. However there may be actions announced at noon.

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