Crawford’s COVID-19 cases remain low
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
While Crawford County is not experiencing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, the number of confirmed cases in the state has continued to rise at a concerning rate. That prompted Gov. Eric Holcomb to issue a mandatory facial mask order, which took effect Monday.
At its July 21 meeting, the Crawford County coronavirus task force indicated it would keep all local restrictions in place. That measure was backed up with Holcomb’s order, which states all Hoosiers age 8 and older must wear a mask while in public.
As of July 26, there have been 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Crawford County. A total of 787 tests have been conducted.
At last Tuesday’s meeting, task force members again stressed how well the county has done, compared to many surrounding areas.
“That number is from day one,” said Morton Dale, president of the board of commissioners. “We don’t have that many cases active currently. There are a small number still active.”
Dale said he was not trying to make light of the situation, but said Crawford County has been fortunate to not have experienced either a high number of cases or any clusters. He urged residents to follow health guidelines and mandates and said those are intended to “keep people more focused on trying to maintain where we’re at.”
EMA director Aaron Bye and Eric Satterfield, county environmental health specialist, both said their understanding is that the governor is basing much of his decision-making on the number of people hospitalized with coronavirus.
“That’s the numbers the governor is looking at from what I understand,” said Satterfield. “He’s looking at hospitalizations.”
Satterfield predicted the state will not move forward with the five stage Back on Track plan until hospitalizations decline. Indiana is currently at stage 4.5.
Satterfield said one new state requirement, effective July 24, is that any gathering of more than 250 people requires a plan to be approved prior to the event.
“I don’t know of anything planned in the county,” he said. “That could be a wedding or even a funeral.”
He said anyone planning a large event in advance should submit a plan to the health department, allowing ample time for review.
“Don’t come up and say, ‘We’re going to have an event tomorrow’,” he said. “In this county, I don’t think it is as big of a deal. I don’t really see it being an issue.”
Task force members also discussed the status of personal protective equipment in the county. Dale noted the county council approved the requirements for the federal CARES Act, which means the county can begin submitting requests for reimbursement for COVID-19-related expenses.
Members again discussed a sterilization unit that would allow the county to sterilize N95 masks along with gowns.
“That’s what’s hard to get a hold of,” said Bye, referring to the N95s.
Satterfield added, “Fire departments and EMS could use it year-round and save money.”
The unit could possibly be used by the school corporation as well, Satterfield said, noting the state gave very little PPE to schools.
“We took them some stuff Hoosier Uplands gave us,” he said. “They had nothing, basically.”
Dale said, for now, the task force will continue meeting on a weekly basis.
“I think we need to continue until the governor lifts restrictions, then we can discuss. … For us here in Crawford County, the goal is to maintain as best we can, to not let things escalate,” he said. “From looking at all the stats, we’ve done a pretty good job of that.”