Coronavirus

The LaGrange County Health Department confirmed its first COVID-19 death Monday morning.

According to Dr. Tony Pechin, the person was an adult male, who died in the hospital Sunday. The person, who was older than age 60, had been hospitalized as a COVID-19 patient, he stated in a news release.

No further information about the patient will be released due to privacy laws, he added.

LaGrange County has six positive cases of coronavirus and 41 people have been tested, according to the state Department of Health.

In Elkhart County, no new deaths were reported by the state. The county now has 36 positive cases, three deaths and 611 people have been tested.

In Noble County, one death has been reported, 10 positive cases identified and 77 people have been tested.

In Kosciusko County, 14 people have tested positive for the virus out of 179 people tested. There have been no deaths there.

Statewide, 4,944 people have tested positive and there have been 139 deaths. Overall, 26,191 people have been tested.

OUTREACH TO AMISH

Jen Tobey, director of Elkhart County Emergency Management, said the department is working on opening up a facility in Nappanee to reach out and communicate better with the Amish. The facility is the Healthy Beginnings building.

“We’ve had a couple of doctors who have reached out with questions and concerns,” Tobey said. “The Amish are a little concerned about how they are screened.”

If they need to be screened, they will have trouble getting rides. So the goal will be that if they cannot get to testing, the testing will get to them.

Goshen police make changes

Recently, with the spreading of the coronavirus, Goshen Police Department has modified procedures to include how they respond to calls for service. One major change is they now respond to non-emergency calls by taking them over the telephone, according to spokesperson Tina Kingsbury.

“This has helped reduce the person-to-person contact, lowering the unnecessary potential exposures,” she stated in a news release. “Even with all the safety precautions the public and professionals are following, the virus continues to spread.”

Officers, she said, are provided with a mask and gloves to utilize anytime they are with a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19 or has flu-like symptoms.

Officers were previously told not to use PPE equipment if the person they had contact with did not show any symptoms. Yet, the CDC reports, “Data suggests that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.”

With this in mind, the administration has re-evaluated the use of the PPE masks by its officers while dealing with the public. “We feel the uncertainty of relying strictly on visible symptoms is not worth the risk of possibly spreading this virus,” the release reads. “Therefore, we will be requiring our officers to wear a PPE mask anytime they have person-to-person contact with someone.”

LaGrange County closes parks to the public

LaGrange County Department of Parks and Recreation has closed access to LaGrange County Parks Department properties.

Due to recent developments in the proximity of the COVID-19 virus, public parks have been identified as a likely transmission source for virus cross-contamination, LaGrange county officials stated in a press release.

LaGrange County Parks included in this closure are Dallas Lake Park, Delt Church Park, Maple Wood Nature Center and LaGrange County Nature Preserve, Pine Knob Park and David Rogers Memorial Park.

For details on the status of LaGrange County Parks and upcoming programs, follow LaGrange County Parks on Facebook and check lagrangecountyparks.org. For more information contact LaGrange County Parks, lagrangecountyparks@yahoo.com or 260-854-2225.

Elkhart Redevelopment meeting canceled

In accordance with the city of Elkhart and state guidelines regarding COVID-19, the Elkhart Redevelopment Commission meeting scheduled for April 14 is canceled.

Contact Dana Donald at dana.donald@coei.org for more information.

Indiana DOR waiving use tax on donated COVID-19 supplies

The Indiana Department of Revenue is taking steps to encourage the donation of medical supplies and other goods to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 6, Gov. Eric Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-02, declaring a public health disaster emergency in Indiana due to the coronavirus. Later, on March 19, Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-05 to provide the following tax incentives for COVID-19 donations:

Manufacturers making donations of medicine, medical supplies or other eligible items to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Indiana will not incur a use tax obligation for those donations; and

Groups or organizations making donations of medicine, medical supplies or other goods will not incur a use tax obligation for those donations if sales tax was not paid when receiving the item.

Use tax typically applies to retail transactions when items are not subject to sales tax at the time of purchase. Eligible items for the COVID-19 use tax waiver include, but are not limited to:

Medicine

Medical supplies (such as personal protective equipment, ventilators and dialysis machines)

Food donated to food banks or other charities helping feed those in need because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Clothing, bedding or personal care products donated to homeless shelters or other charities helping those displaced or in jeopardy because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Soaps, sanitizers, disinfectants, detergents and other cleaning supplies to medical facilities and the charities mentioned above.

Building supplies, beds and other materials used to construct and furnish field hospitals or other temporary medical facilities.

Companies and organizations must get approval from DOR to use the COVID-19 waiver by emailing COVID19donations@dor.in.gov and providing the following information:

Name of the donor.

The donor’s Tax ID or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).

Identify if the donor is the manufacturer or purchaser of the donated items.

A list of all items donated, including the cost or purchase price of the items.

The organization(s) receiving the listed items.

A confirmation by the receiving organization(s) that the items have been or will be donated. Email confirmations are accepted.

After reviewing the information, DOR will confirm if the donation has been approved for the waiver. If approved, the donor will not be required to report the use tax on their next sales and use tax return, their income tax return or a consumer use tax return.

Eligible donations made prior to March 19 will be considered; however, donation of such items will not entitle the donor to a refund of any sales or use tax previously paid to DOR or to a vendor.

Any changes to this guidance, additional modifications to normal operations or changes to tax filing and payment deadlines will be posted on DOR’s website, as well as DOR’s social media accounts.

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