Coronavirus

Two additional positive cases of COVID-19 in Elkhart County were announced Thursday morning by the Indiana Department of Health, bringing the total number of cases to seven.

Melanie Sizemore, public information for the Elkhart County Health Department, said one case was from Goshen Hospital and the other was from Elkhart General Hospital.

Elkhart County Health Department is working on contacting some long-term care facilities to gather information on what their needs are, she said. They are also gathering information on what the childcare needs are of local healthcare workers and first responders.

The Health Department has also set up a phone bank that the public can call to ask general information questions.

“We certainly can’t provide them with medical advice or tell them to go to the doctor,” Sizemore said. “And we can’t order the test.” But for those who do have general questions, they can call 574-523-2106 for answers.

Sizemore said the department has been gathering information from the homeless coalition on how to best help in getting them fed and sheltered, as well as providing portable toilets for them.

She said, “Businesses that would normally accommodate those needs, those doors are locked.” So right now, they are getting portables out to those areas.

The Health Department and Emergency Management are hounding the state Department of Health to get personal protection equipment, including masks, she said.

“We’re floating along,” Sizemore said.

She wanted to let people know that if they were in direct contact with a specific individual who tested positive, one of the community health nurses, who are doing contact tracing, will make phone calls to them. “People will be notified,” she said. “Those nurses are told who and they will contact you.”

On the homemade masks-making front, Sizemore said they are being collected and the department is working with places to launder them before distribution. After that, they will be given to people in need.

“Mainly they’ll go to first responders,” she said, adding that she’s happy there are a lot of wonderful volunteers wanting to make a difference.

“We will get those masks out as soon as possible,” Sizemore said.

More volunteers are needed though.

The Health Department is specifically looking for volunteers to man the Elkhart County COVID-19 Information Line. They need volunteers from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays.

To volunteer, register at www.serv-in.org. Those who have medical training (nursing, MD, DO, etc.) should indicate that. The system will verify credentials and do a background check. The department will be in contact with those who sign up once the system has made the person’s information available.

The information line will be manned from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Patrick is suspending some operations

Patrick Industries Inc. on Thursday announced that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be suspending operations at certain facilities.

Andy Nemeth, president and chief executive officer, told RV Business, “The suspensions, which are determined on a plant by plant basis, are currently expected to range from one to two weeks depending on government requirements or the demand needs of the specific markets in which we operate. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and will take the appropriate actions, as needed, as they relate to our operations, the health and safety of our team members, the communities in which we operate, our customers and all our other stakeholders.

“Certain facilities where local conditions allow or that are determined to be supplying products for an essential use will continue to operate, although with an elevated focus on safety. We strive to have, and continue to implement, best practices, policies and procedures as they continually evolve in conjunction with guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and other government agencies to protect our team members, which is our highest priority.”

Nemeth continued, “ ... we have enacted certain measures, and are prepared to enact further measures in the event the situation dictates, related to cost reductions in order to align our cost structure over the foreseeable future in correlation with fluctuations in industry demand. We have detailed tiered plans for various levels of market volatility, and we put a capital structure in place last September for both strategic and defensive purposes, including for unanticipated situations such as this.

“Our financial position is strong and we believe we have ample liquidity and availability, supported by cash on hand and available borrowings under our existing revolving credit facility, to not only navigate through the business interruption related to this pandemic crisis for the foreseeable future, but to pivot and execute quickly, returning to our strategic growth plan once visibility and stability in the markets improve. We are optimistic about the long-term prospects for each of our core markets.”

Changes at Maple City Market

Several changes are being made at Maple City Market, locate

  • d on South Main Street in downtown Goshen, because of COVID-19.
  • General Manager Brad Alstrom said that staff will be receiving an extra $1.50 per hour pay differential through this crisis for their additional efforts and risks. They have also hired two additional employees.
  • Because of statewide orders, the following changes have been made:
  • Reduced store hours — Hours will be Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Priority shopping hours, which are for senior shoppers and at-risk or immuno-compromised customers, will be Monday through Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m.
  • More strict social-distancing measures — Customers and employees are required to maintain 6-foot distancing from one on other. It is asked that customers avoid conversation with employees and other customers to whatever extent possible when in close proximity to one another in the grocery aisles.
  • Cashier prote
  • ction shields — The market is in the process of installing Plexiglas barriers at the register lanes as an extra precaution for cashiers and customers since they are unable to provide 6-foot distance at check out.
  • Store sanitizing — Alstrom stated in a press release, “Please know we are regularly sanitizing shopping carts, door handles, bulk bins, our register lanes, and other touch points throughout the store and throughout the day. Hand sanitizer is now available near the front of the store for customer use.”
  • Bulk section — Staff are starting to package bulk items to make them safer for the public. Alstrom said customers will see changes throughout the next few days as they move forward with this project. “At this time, we ask that you not bring your own food bags or containers to shop for bulk foods,” Alsrom stated. “The exceptions to this are jugs for our RO water dispenser and kom
  • bucha dispenser, which remain open at this time. Rubber gloves are available for use in the bulk foods area.”
  • Holds, special orders and returns — During this time, the staff is unable to put items on hold, place special orders or receive returns. This is only temporary.
  • Deli soups available cold — The market is no longer offering hot soups. They will maintain a variety of deli soups in the cold deli case. For convenience, soups are packed in microwavable containers.
  • Cash vs. cards — The market will continue to accept cash from customers for whom cash is the only option, but card transactions are preferred. All card transactions are being run as touchless transactions.
  • Supply chain issues — Most of the store’s essential products are on the shelf, with a few key exceptions, including toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectants, key wellness and supplement
  • products and Miller Poultry products, according to Alstrom. “We expect the supply chain to readjust in the near future,” he writes. “In the meantime, we are utilizing many of local and smaller vendors to fill in where our larger suppliers are out of stock.”
  • Unable to shop? — The market does not currently have the capacity to offer curbside pick-up to all of its shoppers. If feasible, another person should be sent instead. If sending another person to shop is not an option, AND you are an elderly or at-risk shopper, the market staff will fill the order for you. Those who fit that description should send an inquiry to

info@maplecitymarket.com

  • .

Sheila Selman can be reached at sheila.selman@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240311. Follow Sheila on Twitter @sselman_TGN.

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