Coronavirus

The Elkhart County Incident Command team released a statement Wednesday concerning the New York Times ranking Elkhart County as 10th in the nation for being the next possible COVID-19 outbreak area.

The statement reads: “This may be alarming to many of you and not so much for others. The issue we are seeing is that as businesses open up and people are out and about, we see an increase in positive cases. This could make us one of the next outbreak locations. To combat this, we need to continue to remind you and others that you need to wash your hands often, avoid close contact, cover your mouth and nose with a face cover when around others, cover your coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and monitor your symptoms.”

As a reminder of how to keep yourself and others safe, the Incident Command team writes that people should keep social distancing — “nothing beats 6 feet.”

“Your actions do affect others, especially those that are 65 and older,” the release reads. “Please take precautions for yourself and others. Your community thanks you!”

Per Incident Command, the best way to protect yourself from any respiratory illness, including COVID-19 is to:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60% or higher alcohol.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Practice social distancing (no group functions such as book clubs, meetings, and or congregations of 10 or more)

• Stay home where possible.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For information and data, go to www.coronavirus.in.gov or go to the CDC at www.cdc.gov for more information regarding the coronavirus.

THE NUMBERS

After many days of escalating cases, Elkhart and St. Joseph counties’ numbers of new coronavirus cases fell to 13 each Wednesday, according to information provided by the Indiana State Department of Health.

Elkhart County has had higher numbers since May 18.

Also, no new deaths were reported in any of our local counties in today’s ISDH report.

Here are Wednesday’s numbers:

  • Statewide — 32,437 positive cases, up 370; 1,871 deaths, up 21; 235,333 tested, up 4,593.
  • Elkhart County — 1,070 positive cases, up 13; 28 deaths, zero new; 8,364 tested.
  • LaGrange County — 62 positive cases, up two; two deaths, zero new; 483 tested.
  • Noble County — 192 positive cases, up three; 21 deaths, zero new; 1,160 tested.
  • Kosciusko County — 97 positive cases, up three; one death, zero new; 1,575 tested.
  • St. Joseph County — 1,218 positive cases, up 13; 34 deaths, zero new; 11,730 tested.
  • Marshall County — 80 positive cases, up four; one death; zero new; 1,444 tested.

Bremen library to extend services

Bremen Public Library will extend services to the public starting Monday with modified hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Here’s what to expect while visiting during Phase 3:

Patrons should “grab and go.” To limit the number of patrons in the library at one time, people can stop by for materials browsing or to have items copied/faxed, but they should do their business and leave.

There are fewer computers available and they are spaced apart. Adult patrons may use a computer for essential services up to 30 minutes at a time. A session may be extended once, based on the waiting list. Note that a computer may not always be available. Staff will be assisting from a distance.

Some seating has been temporarily removed and spaced the remaining seating farther apart to enforce social distancing.

Toys, games and Children’s Department Imagination Stations are temporarily unavailable.

Meeting room bookings are temporarily suspended.

Here’s what the library staff is doing to keep patrons safe during Phase 3:

They will quarantine all returned materials for 72 hours prior to being checked in.

Staff will be wearing masks. They encourage patrons to wear one when visiting.

Staff is following CDC standards on hand washing and the wearing of gloves to handle returned material.

They’ve enhanced our cleaning protocols. High-touch surfaces are disinfected multiple times a day.

Depending on market conditions, hand sanitizer is available at its service desks.

The restrooms will be locked, but will be unlocked upon request.

The library will continue take-out service as long as patrons make requests.

The library continues to offer a selection of in-person and virtual programs, and patrons can still enjoy ebooks, audiobooks, streamed music and downloads, movies, magazines and more through Hoopla and OverDrive/Libby. Plus, patrons can access free databases by visiting the library’s website at http://www.bremen.lib.in.us/pages/databases.php

Bookmobile off the road

The Bookmobile is currently undergoing maintenance and cleaning and will be off the road until mid-August, or the beginning of the coming school year, according to LaGrange County Public Library officials.

Every book is also being cleaned, and it is important that all books currently checked out from the Bookmobile be returned as soon as possible to the main library or one of the library branches, library officials said. The buildings are open with limited hours, or books may be placed in the drop boxes at each branch.

Any school using the TUBS program that currently has tubs out also needs to return those as soon as possible to the main library or one of the branches. It would be helpful to call ahead so the staff is expecting your returns.

The Bookmobile TUBS Program is being expanded and all LaGrange County Amish schools are invited to sign-up. To participate in the program or for more information, call the library at 260-463-2841.

The Bookmobile staff is looking forward to welcoming back their valued patrons in August, noting that there may be capacity limits and safety protocols.

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