Proposed Goshen smoking ordinance gutted

Jim McKee

GOSHEN — Thursday at 4:49 p.m., Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman was notified that Councilman Jim McKee tested positive for COVID-19.

As soon as the mayor was notified, the mayor and staff began personally contacting every council and board member, as well as staff who would have recently attended public meetings with Councilman McKee and may have been at risk of exposure, according to a statement provided by the city.

The city followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and contacted all those who have been within the “CDC contact zone” from the council member, according to the statement. Those people who were within the contact zone were advised that they should be diligent about keeping track of their symptoms and stay home through March 31.

The last public meetings McKee was in were on Tuesday, March 17. He attended both Plan Commission and City Council that afternoon and evening.

None of the individuals contacted have presented symptoms over the last 10 days. The CDC advises that people exposed to the virus will typically develop symptoms within five days since exposure.

Mayor Stutsman consulted with Dr. Dan Nafziger, chief medical officer at Goshen Health, about the situation and the CDC standards for who needs to be contacted and what next steps should be for those individuals. If members of the public were at either of these meetings and have concerns about possible exposure, call Goshen City Hall at 574-533-8621.

If anyone thinks they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, they should:

1 — Isolate themselves for a two-week period. This time starts from the moment the interaction ended.

2 — Check their temperature three times a day. People with body temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit are considered to have a fever.

3 — Call the Elkhart County Health Department or their doctor for the next steps if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms.

Mayor Stutsman said the recent case reminded him of how a single point of exposure can affect many people in a community if precautions are not taken. Councilman McKee’s case affected the City Council and Plan Commission members and staff.

“We are acutely aware the virus is in our community, but up until this point we did not have a public face to connect it to,” Stutsman said. “My friend and colleague Jim McKee wanted to step forward and be that face. I appreciate his willingness to show once again how much he cares about Goshen.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered Indiana residents to stay at home for a two-week period in an effort to mitigate the viral spread.

“I have tested positive for the virus, and I am staying home with my wife Angie and monitoring my symptoms,” McKee said. “I would like to remind everyone to follow the governor’s Executive Order directing all Hoosiers to stay at home. It is critical that we all do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.”

Beginning with the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting March 24, the city began streaming all public meetings. The city is working to make sure contact between members of boards and commissions, as well as contact with the public, is as limited as possible. City officials would like to encourage as many members to participate remotely and the public to stream the meetings whenever possible.

For more information about CDC guidelines and the latest information about Goshen’s response to COVID-19, go to goshenindiana.org/covid19.

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