CDC recommends crowds of 50 or less due to the coronavirus
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
The announcement of the coronavirus has affected the way we live on every level.
All Ripley County schools have been closed, many universities have their students complete the semester with online classes, sending many local parents to move their kids out of dorms. Hospitals will not allow visitors along with nursing homes and prisons, and President Donald Trump called for a national day of prayer on Sunday, March 15, for our country during this time.
This past weekend many churches were closed, some offering live-streaming. The new guideline from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests there should be no more than 50 people gathered in one place for the next eight weeks.
On the heels of that announcement, there was a scurry for local people to make sure their events get canceled or postponed. The Golden Gate Choir performance that was set for April 5 is now canceled. St. Anthony Catholic Church listened to Mass by Father Whittington using an FM transmitter as they sat in their vehicles on Sunday. This will continue until further notice. Backdoor Friends & Family, with the Tyson United Methodist Church in Versailles, will not be open.
Redeem the Time Trio, a gospel group, has canceled and will not be performing at St. Peters UCC on March 22, according to Pastor Sandy Gruell of St. Peters UCC, Osgood.
A retirement party for Jon Strautman, local pharmacist and friend to many, has been reluctantly canceled. However, his many friends will be able to go to George’s Pharmacy in Versailles at the drive thru to wish him well. He will be working March 21, 25, 27 and 31 there.
The SEI REMC 81st annual meeting has been postponed. set for March 28, Members can view website at www.seiremc.com. For updated information you can also call REMC at 1-800-737-4111.
Just before noon it was reported that restaurants, bars and nightclubs in Indiana are to be closed, with only the drive-thrus open for customers.
While organizations and businesses are scrambling to postpone or cancel dates for events, there is a sector of the workforce that will not be taking time off. The police, fire, and emergency medical services, along with hospital staff and local media, will remain on vigilant duty. Please be respectful of these people as they go about their daily business that has been taken to a new level. These are the people on the front line of defense.
On Friday, March 13 the Ripley County Health Department held a press conference in conjunction with Margaret Mary Health and the City of Batesville. It was announced that the hospital is proactively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the information about the virus changes on a daily basis, officials are asking that you simply stay informed from the safety of your home via email or calling. If you feel you might have symptoms of the virus, do not go to the hospital. Health officials are asking that you call first, then they will direct you on how to proceed.
Dr. David Welsh, Ripley County Health Officer and General Surgeon, noted that “In times like these, it’s really nice to live here.” He said people have always pulled together in the past and they are now. “It’s a time to check on your neighbor and do what your mother always taught you – wash your hands!”
At the press event, there were 12 people reported to be sick in the state. Since that time, the number has increased. Welsh didn’t minimize the virus, saying, “Do we have to be careful? Yes!”
Tim Putnam, CEO and president of Margaret Mary ealth, spoke saying “We are in the height of flu season,” meaning the regular flu. “We stand prepared to test people for COVID-19, but at this time have not had any people that meet the criteria,” he said last Friday. He said they will be treating people based on symptoms and they have a response team in place. For the latest updates from the hospital you can visit them online at mmhealth.org.
Dr. Welsh encouraged people to not only take precautions for themselves, but to check on their neighbors, especially the elderly who may not be able to get out to get supplies. He said at no other time has the information changed so quickly. As of last week the number of people at gatherings was quite different across the tri-state area. Health officials are following the CDC guidelines to prevent an all-out break-out of the virus, which has proven to be deadly. It’s not a time to panic, but a time to be vigilant.
The Ripley County Health Department is working in tandem with the state. For information you can access their website at www.ripleyhealth.com or call 1-812-689-5751.
People are encouraged to get the supplies they need and not to hoard. While, it’s human nature to get more than you actually need, officials are asking that you think of others who also are in need at this time. Bobby Wood, with the Versailles IGA said they are working hard to keep their shelves stocked with all the essentials, plus more.
Editor’s note: The story about the virus will be ongoing throughout the next few weeks and we will strive to keep our readers updated as quickly as possible. If you know of a cancellation, or information concerning the virus, please send it to email@example.com or call our office at 812-689-6364 Monday through Thursday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4 :30 p.m.