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Highpoint records first coronavirus case in county

New order from governor: stay at home unless trip is for essential business

The inevitable has happened. 

Highpoint Health confirmed Monday, March 23, a first person has tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus, in Dearborn County. 

No other information about the person will be released due to patient privacy. 

Healthcare workers are urging anyone who has mild respiratory symptoms and a fever to self-monitor and stay home. 

A temperature reading should be taken twice daily, and people should remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. 

Eighty percent of people who have minor symptoms do not require medical care. Do not go to the emergency department with mild or moderate symptoms. 

Doing so displaces other patients who may need emergency care, and also increases your risk of infection. 

If symptoms should worsen, stay at home and call a healthcare provider to determine next steps. 

There will be more 

Dearborn County Public Health Nurse Kendra Oberting-Cendro of Dearborn County Health Department expects more positive cases in the county, especially after spring break. 

“This is why it is so important to follow all guidelines and stay home unless needing to go out,” she said. 

The only testing location in the county is at Highpoint Health, said Oberting-Cendro. 

“The hospital has criteria for who they are testing, and it is primarily those who are having more severe symptoms,” she said. 

First responders still are receiving personal protection equipment. The county did a survey of what the responders had in stock before the declaration of the pandemic. 

“Those in need were supplied with a first round of PPE. Supplies have continued to go out as needed,” she said. 

Meanwhile, the hospital erected a tent outside the emergency department on Wilson Creek Road on Thursday, March 17. While a spokeswoman said the use of the tent was “still to be determined” but could be used to separate “possible COVID-19 emergency department patients from others waiting for care, or increasing hospital capacity.

“We don’t know when the tent may be put in use,” the spokeswoman said.

“The best-case scenario is we don’t need to use it. We do, however, want to let the community know placement of the tent is not cause for alarm.”

The hospital has a dedicated line, 812-537-8210, staffed by medical professionals.

Empty streets

If you drive the streets at 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning, you might know the feeling of driving through town at 10 a.m. this week.

Very few people are out and about, most trying to shelter in place to help get past the coronavirus pandemic. And now even fewer people will be out.

On Monday, March 23, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order for Hoosiers to stay at home. The order starts Wednesday, March 25 and ends Tuesday, April 7.

“(I call) on all Hoosiers to hunker down, stay at home, unless you’re going out on an essential errand, or essential work or essential business and operations,” he said.

The order follows Ohio and Kentucky which issued the same order over the weekend.

The state has defined essential businesses as including, but not limited to, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, police and fire stations, hospitals, doctors offices, healthcare facilities, garbage pickup, and public transit.

The governor is restricting access to state government buildings through 8 a.m. April 7.

He also ordered county health departments and the state Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to take action to force any restaurant or bar that is remaining open for in-house customers, which he addressed in an order on Mach 16. 

The executive order he signed March 23 instructs the “ATC to suspend any and all food and beverage licenses for those who violate the order.”

Boards of health will issue cease and desist orders on those restaurants who remain open for in-house customers.

All county and local government buildings are closed to visitors unless a person has an appointment. 

Any payments for services can be made at drop-off or drive-up windows. 

Community organizations have canceled meetings or other events, observing the 10-person recommendations on gatherings. 

Most churches have gone to live streaming services. Some funeral services have been postponed, or severely limiting attendance. 

Many businesses have instituted work-at-home procedures. 

The Dearborn County Courthouse and all other county-run buildings are closed to all visitors unless buy appointment beginning immediately. 

The Dearborn County Board of Commissioners made that decision in an emergency meeting Thursday, March 19.

Some court activities will take place. The jail is restricting visitors.

All visitors will be required to sign in with name and address, call the department they have an appointment with, and confirm the appointment is still necessary. 

If a face-to-face meeting is not needed or no appointment has been made, the visitor will be turned away.

All visitors will be asked a series of questions concerning exposure to the coronavirus or people with the virus before being allowed to enter the courthouse.

School at home

Part of that traffic not out is schools buses. While all three county corporations were already scheduled to be off this week due to spring break, you won’t see buses in the morning and afternoon until at least May. 3.

All three have instituted e-learning plans. This came at the same time Holcomb announced school buildings would stay closed until May 1. 

The governor also granted 20 waiver days to the schools for the rest of the school year.

South Dearborn and Sunman-Dearborn schools will have e-learning days on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning the week of April 6. 

On Mondays and Fridays, the districts will use those days as waiver days.

South Dearborn has said the schedule will last the rest of the school year if needed. Sunman-Dearborn has only planned this schedule for April.

In Lawrenceburg schools, its schedule will start with a waiver day on Monday, March 30, an e-learning day on Tuesday, March 31, and proceed with every other day being an e-learning day. 

All three corporations had already scheduled Friday, April 10, off for Good Friday.

Letters to parents explaining plans have been sent by all three corporations. 

All three corporations will still provide meals during the week. All extracurricular activities have been canceled until at least May 1. 

No one will be allowed in the buildings except employees unless approved in advance. 

Graduations are still scheduled at this time.

For complete information, go to the corporations’ websites.

While South Dearborn and Lawrenceburg have used e-learning days in the past, they are new for Sunman-Dearborn students and teachers.

“We have been one-to-one computer for only three years, the middle school for three years, the high school for two and the elementary schools just got Chromebooks for a year,” said Sunman-Dearborn Superintendent Andrew Jackson. 

“We are trying to give the teachers time to take their old lessons and apply them to e-learning. We don’t want to overwhelm the students with work and assignments. We will find a balance between the number of days and assignments.”

In Lawrenceburg, Superintendent Karl Galey said in the letter sent to parents, “We have asked staff to work on quality of work vs. quantity of work. We do not want to add stress to the current situation.”

The Dearborn County Register & Journal Press

Mailing address:
     Register Publications,
     126 W. High St.
     Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
Phone: 1-812-537-0063
Fax: 1-812-537-5576


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