County's disaster declaration extended


The county’s local disaster emergency declaration has been extended to Sept. 2, matching the statewide declaration.

The Dubois County Commissioners extended the declaration Monday morning.

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.

“It is still needed,” said Tammy Humbert, director of the Dubois County Emergency Management Agency.

With that, the commissioners encouraged the public to continue to follow the state mask mandate. “It is the law,” Commissioner Elmer Brames said, “and I think we have a moral and patriotic responsibility to follow the law. And I hope the public sees it that way as well.”

The OptumServe COVID-19 testing site is still operating at the Ruxer Golf Course building, and testing people. Shawn Werner, administrative director of the Dubois County Health Department, told the commissioners the department will receive funding from the state to create its own testing site.

“They’re still telling us that Optum is a temporary solution for testing in our community,” he said. “There is supposed to be a grant coming to the health department within the next month or two to develop our own testing site.”

It’s possible to contract with the manager of the current site to create the new site. But funding has not yet been confirmed by the state.

The health department is getting some part-time help to answer phone calls from people with COVID-19 questions, Werner said. One person has been hired to work three days a week, and another is being considered for the other two days. Werner said that he has applicants that he is considering.

Humbert gave the commissioners reimbursement requests for a translator, public health outreach, and technology requests. The commissioners approved the requests, which will be submitted for CARES Act funding.

The treasurer’s and auditor’s offices are also looking into a slight redesign of those offices to reduce the public’s physical access to them. The redesign may look like other ones, with a plexiglass to separate workers from visitors.

The commissioners also thanked county employees, especially the health and emergency management offices, for their work during the pandemic.

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