County extends local disaster emergency


The Dubois County Commissioners on Monday extended the local disaster emergency declaration to April 6, closed the county’s buildings to the public and ordered non-essential county staff to work from home.

The declaration gives county officials the authority to take emergency measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It also puts the county in place for receiving state and federal assistance if that is needed and becomes available.

The commissioners have closed the county’s building to the public, effective this morning. People needing to get in the building for necessary business must call; numbers for the different offices are located on the county’s website,

This order is also in effect through April 6, which is the date of the commissioners next meeting.

Non-essential county staff are working from home starting today. Department heads will determine if any essential functions or employees are needed in the office.

And the commissioners urged ill workers, including those who are showing the symptoms attached to COVID-19 — fever, cough and shortness of breath — to stay home.

Offices have been sending out notices to let the public know of closures. The county clerk’s office has canceled today’s public test of voting equipment, since that would mean having people come into the courthouse. That will be rescheduled, Clerk Amy Kippenbrock said in the notice.

The recorder’s office is now closed, as the three workers have self-quarantined themselves. A relative of one of the workers had been traveling and came in contact with a person who later showed symptoms related to the novel coronavirus, Blessinger said. So the staff thought it would be best to self-quarantine themselves, which the commissioners support.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” Blessinger said.

The commissioners and health officials continue to urge the general public to practice social distancing if they must be in contact with someone. They also urge the public to 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.

The commissioners also:

• Agreed that it will have to consider its sick leave policy in light of the virus and the possibility of workers having to self-quarantine themselves. Commissioner Nick Hostetter said he was concerned that in those cases, workers may deplete their sick days, especially since the county is urging people showing the symptoms to stay home.

• Recognized the passing of Radius Weisman, who worked the county’s soil and water district.

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