Local disaster emergency declared for county


The Dubois County Commissioners enacted a local disaster emergency declaration Tuesday afternoon, and limited the public’s access to county buildings.

“We feel it’s important that we continue to stress the corrective measures that need to be taken in Dubois County,” Tammy Humbert, director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday, “and follow Governor Holcomb’s guidelines that he has sent out.”

Humbert, County Health Officer Dr. Ted Waflert, and members of the county health board and the Dubois County Health Department met with the commissioners in an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the declaration.

The declaration gives county officials the authority to take emergency measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That includes authorizing the county health officer to issue orders to forbid public gatherings and implement other measures if deemed necessary. It also puts the county in place for receiving state and federal assistance if that is needed and becomes available.

“This is a means to help us follow all the federal guidelines that we need to do,” Humbert said, “if and when federal dollars are available to help us recoup any resources that we are exhausting.”

According to the declaration, “All citizens are called up and directed to comply with necessary emergency measures, to cooperate with public officials and disaster services, in executing emergency operation plans, and to obey and comply with the lawful directions of properly identified officers.”

The declaration is due to expire Tuesday, but can be extended by the commissioners.

The commissioners also decided to limit access to county buildings to the public for all non-essential services. The only access that will be allowed is for a public meeting, by appointment or by an order of the court. This will be in effect through April 6, which is the date of the commissioners next meeting. But it could be extended at that time, if they determine it to be necessary.

The county’s eight recycling/sanitation sites can still be accessed by the public. But there are posted warnings for people to not come in contact with the staff if they are sick, showing virus symptoms, or have been near people or in a location where they could have been exposed to the coronavirus.

People are urged to call county offices before coming to determine if their business is essential or not essential. Measures are also being put into place to monitor the doors to restrict access, and visitors’ temperatures may also be taken before they enter.

Phone numbers for county offices can be found on the county’s website, www.duboiscountyin.org.

The Dubois County Health Department states that there are three major symptoms attached to COVID-19: fever, cough and shortness of breath.

If you have these signs, call your health provider for instructions. Do not go to doctor’s office or emergency medical facilities before calling.

The public should practice the same preventive actions they would if they are trying to avoid catching the flu — wash your hands, avoid touching your face, avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.

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