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The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention say there is "no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds." Most believe proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection should inactivate the virus, but given that the virus is a new one, experts cannot say with absolute certainty that it will be safe. Erring on the side of caution, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has ordered all indoor pools closed. We must wait for the State of Indiana to give us additional direction on outdoor pools as it begins to warm up.
The short answer is "we don’t know." South Korea recently reported a significant number of people with COVID-19 have tested positive for a second time. The World Health Organization (WHO) says we don’t have enough evidence to understand if and why some people may experience reactivation after recovery. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says, "the immune response, including duration of immunity is not yet understood." With other coronavirus strains, experts say the antibodies that patients produce during infection give them immunity to the specific virus for months or even years, but researchers are still figuring out if and how that works with COVID-19.
The health department is required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, to protect an individual’s Protected Health Information. Protected Health Information is any information in a patient’s chart or billing records, insurance records or other format that’s identifiable to the patient.
After discussing patient privacy with the Indiana State Department of Health and the State’s Office of Public Affairs, we have decided to keep identifiable information to a minimum. Informing the public of positive COVID-19 cases by municipality does not change the way we conduct business and it should not change the way you protect yourself and your family.
Hamilton County is the fourth most populated county in Indiana behind Marion, Lake, and Allen Counties. Hamilton County’s positive cases rank third most in the state behind Marion and Lake Counties. Although Hamilton County’s population is slightly lower than Allen County’s, the connectivity and density of our four cities puts us in closer proximity to one another. Hamilton County is also home to seven hospitals – all testing for COVID-19 which may skew normal trending.
Currently, our county hospitals are in good shape to handle a wide variety of ill patients. Remember, that COVID-19 is only one disease that is stressing our health care providers. Influenza is still a concern as well as many other serious illnesses and accidents. However, as we have seen in other parts of the country, this can change rather quickly with a surge in COVID-19 patients.
We encourage people to get outside, get some fresh air, and exercise to help relieve stress during this time. Hiking, biking, walking your dog, and kicking a soccer ball are all good activities to consider, but please use common sense. Stay off playgrounds and stay at least six feet – or roughly two adult arm lengths – away from other people at all times.
The Centers for Disease Control now recommends everyone wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public. The cover is meant to protect other people in case YOU are infected. Please remember the face cover is NOT a substitute for social distancing. Please stay at least six feet from other people. Click here for directions on how to make your own. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/DIY-cloth-face-covering-instructions.pdf
Testing is currently being managed by the Indiana State Department of Health, hospitals, and some health care providers. Widely available testing is not available yet for the general public in Indiana, especially for non-symptomatic people.
Social distancing will not completely stop infection. It will help slow the increasing rate of infection in the community. Staying home as much as possible, avoiding crowds, and using good hand hygiene are important in keeping an individual healthy and slowing transmission of the virus. Slowing the number of positive cases and the number of seriously ill people will prevent our hospitals and health care providers from becoming overwhelmed.
The Hamilton County Health Department and area hospitals have received two shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile. These supplies are mostly medical personal protective equipment such as N-95 and surgical masks, gloves, gowns, and face shields. Available inventory, while currently sufficient, is critically important. It is delivered very judiciously based upon the current inventory and essential need of our long-term care facilities, health care facilities, and public safety agencies. We must be able to protect those working on the front lines of this health battle.
Any offers of donations and volunteers can be directed to the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency. We are working hand-in-hand with this agency to help manage this crisis.
We strongly discourage play dates with anyone outside your immediate family. When children are playing, it is hard to enforce social distance between them. Plus, many kids still haven’t mastered the etiquette of coughing, sneezing, and washing their hands regularly. While children seem to be less likely to get sick from COVID-19, distancing them from one another reduces the chances of transmitting the virus to older members of their families. We still encourage families to continue to spend time together outdoors. Parents should also try to help their children reach out to friends by phone, text or email.
We have been reluctant to generate a report of deaths by facility, but we feel that we owe it to the public and the families with loved ones at these long-term care facilities to know how they are faring. This information is public record as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which requires protection and confidential handling of protected health information, expires upon death. 25 long-term care facilities fall under the jurisdiction of the Hamilton County Health Department. It’s important to note that their jobs are difficult under the best of circumstances and they are doing the very best they can with the support of the state and county health departments to protect their patients from the COVID-19 virus.
The Hamilton County Health Department no longer has jurisdiction in the City of Fishers per Indiana Code 16-20-4-4. The Fishers City Council established a health department on Friday, April 24th which precludes the County Health Board and the board’s officers from providing services to the citizens of Fishers. Any questions about COVID-19, as well as other health-related issues like mosquito control, restaurant inspections, and pool inspections, should be sent to the Fishers Health Department. They can be reached at (317) 567-5045 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
People with COVID-19 who have home isolated, but did NOT have a test to determine if they’re still contagious, can leave home when they have been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine - AND - other symptoms have improved - AND - its been at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared.
Those being tested to determine if they’re still contagious, must receive TWO negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart, as well as be symptom and fever free.
The Indiana State Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 testing site at Grand Park. Individuals who are symptomatic for COVID-19 or close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 positive patients are encouraged to register for an appointment. Those who are high risk because they’re 65 years or older or have other underlying health conditions like diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure; or are a member of a minority population that is at greater risk, are also encouraged to get tested. You can register online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by phone at (888) 634-1116. Testing is FREE and insurance is not required. However, if you have private health insurance, please bring that information with you.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Common symptoms have long included fever, cough, and shortness of breath, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says symptoms may include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Other less common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Children have similar, but far minor symptoms than adults.
The emerging syndrome is now being called “Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19.” Symptoms include a persistent fever, inflammation, and poor function in one or more organs. The syndrome mimics features of both toxic shock syndrome and incomplete Kawasaki disease. Not every child who presents with the syndrome tests positive for COVID-19, but experts believe there is a connection. To date, cases in the United States have been mainly in East Coast cities. Although rare, experts say most children affected have done well. The cause is still a mystery.
Yes, violations of the Executive Order relating to food services could be violations under the Retail Food Code 410 IAC 7-24-116. The regulatory authority may temporarily impose specific requirements in addition to the requirements contained in this rule. If an imminent health hazard exists because of an emergency condition that may endanger public health, a ceasing of operations may be ordered under s410 IAC 7-24-109.
All first responders have been issued face masks and extra gloves. We are practicing social distancing, meeting virtually when appropriate, regularly monitoring health status, and issuing extra cleaning supplies for vehicles and equipment and. A deputy may take an initial report from you over the phone if the crime you are reporting is not in progress.
New policies have been implemented to help protect the Jail Office staff, inmates, and all first responders who may enter the jail. Along with these new protocols we have medical housing, quarantine areas, and 24-hour professional medical staff to maintain a safe corrections environment.
Please do not come to our facility for inmate visitations or commissary deposits during the Stay-at-Home Order. All jail visits and commissary transactions must be completed remotely utilizing our state-of-the-art GTL system. Please set up an account at the following website: https://www.gettingout.com/
All services to the public will continue. Please be patient as some of our staff will be working from home and limited administrative staff may be onsite. Please do not come to our facility if your business can be handled over the phone, by email, or can otherwise be delayed. Almost all administrative services – including background checks and public record requests - can be handled through these methods. You can make these requests by faxing (317) 776-9835 or e-mailing email@example.com. Please call our administrative line at (317) 773-1872 if you have any questions.
Tax warrant payments can be mailed (money order or cashier’s check) to the Sheriff’s Office or paid online using the following website: https://indianataxwarrants.com/
Crucial sex offender registration and verification will still occur on site, as will local background checks for gun permit applications. Those seeking gun permits must start at the Indiana State Police website at www.in.gov/isp/2829.htm.
If you are required to come to our campus and are symptomatic, sick or have been in the last 72 hours, please call (317) 773-1872 during business hours or (317) 776-9800 after hours before you come.
Essential travel is any travel that allows a citizen to go from their residence to a place that is considered essential under the Governor’s Executive Order. You can find that complete list here. https://coronavirus.in.gov/2496.htm
There are no roadblocks or stops along the county borders. We trust that if you’re on the road, you are out for essential business only.
Community Corrections has increased the frequency of its standard housekeeping efforts to include more frequent cleaning of floors, hard surfaces, tables, sinks, bathrooms, etc. Visitations to the facility have also been temporarily suspended, with the exception of those deemed absolutely essential to continue operations. All classes have been temporarily suspended to eliminate intermingling of participants from different living units. Participants are still permitted to leave the facility to work if their worksite is still open for business. Each time they return, their temperature is taken and they are observed for symptoms that are related to COVID-19.
The Indiana State Election Commission has approved in-person voting for the Primary Election on June 2nd. Early voting will take place May 26 to June 1 at eight satellite locations throughout Hamilton County. In-person voting will also be available on Election Day at your regular polling location from 6AM to 6PM. To ensure your safety, masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies will be provided for poll workers. However, we still believe voting by mail is the safest way for many voters during this unprecedented time. You can apply for an absentee ballot until May 21st at Indianavoters.com. For more information you can contact the Election Office at (317) 776-8476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Essential businesses are listed in the Governor’s Executive Order. You can find that complete list here. https://coronavirus.in.gov/2496.htm
Employees who believe that their workplace environment contains a threat of physical harm or death can file a non-formal complaint with the state’s Occupational and Safety Health Administration. You can do so by following this link: https://www.in.gov/dol/2733.htm
Hamilton County Express continues to provide transportation services during this time. Additionally, HCE is now delivering essential items, such as medications and groceries, to those who cannot pick up those necessary items. To arrange for delivery or a free ride, call HCE at (317) 773-2688 between 8AM-4PM.
All area food pantries are currently open for regular hours. Please click here for hours, distribution changes, and updates related to health safety precautions: https://www.gsnlive.org/food-pantries-directory
Hamilton County property taxes were mailed Tuesday, April 7th. Spring taxes are due May 11. Governor Holcomb has issued an Executive Order waiving penalties on payments received within 60 days for real estate and personal property taxes not paid by escrow.