The Porter County
Commissioners approved a COVID-19 Safety & Action Plan at their meeting on
implements policies intended to ensure a safe environment for both employees
and visitors, and until all steps in the plan have been fully implemented,
county offices and buildings will remain closed to the public and all
official meetings will be conducted virtually.
“Our first priority
in development of this plan was to assure the safety and well-being of our
employees and visitors,” said Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South.
The plan’s first
step is require all 500+ county employees to be tested for COVID-19 before
they may return to normal work schedules. The Commissioners have arranged
drive-through testing by department or building, and it’s expected that the
testing will take several days to complete.
Employees who test
positive will not be allowed to return to work until fully recovered.
On a daily basis,
employees will also be required to complete a questionnaire regarding their
travel and symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19. Based on the information
provided in the questionnaire, the employee may be sent home.
After the intial
round of testing, each department or building will be provided with a
digital thermometer, and all employees’ temperatures will be taken and
recorded every workday before they’re allowed to enter their office or
workspace. If the employee’s temperature exceeds the current CDC
recommendations, the employee will be sent home.
Employees are also
encouraged to stay home if they feel sick.
Any employee who
tests positive, or who is sent home based on temperature or on information
provided in the questionnaire, will be required to be tested at the Indiana
State Department of Health testing program at the Valparaiso National Guard
That employee must
provide documentation of a negative test result before he or she may return
Masks and Other
All employees will
be provided with a mask and guidelines for wearing masks are outlined in the
Action Plan. “This includes a recommendation to wear masks at all times but
requires employees to wear masks in all common areas of their respective
building,” the Commissioners said.
Sneeze guards will
be provided to each department with a public service counter. Hand
sanitizer, hand sanitizer stations, and disinfection wipes will also be
provided throughout the common areas of county buildings and to each
department as available.
The Porter County
Facilities Department will continue to perform enhanced cleaning with
disinfectant and antiviral products and will provide those products to each
department, which will be responsibile for its own cleaning of commonly used
spaces and surfaces within private workspaces.
Once these steps
have been completed and are in place, the Commissioners will gradually allow
citizens to enter county buildings on an appointment-only basis.
Any building or
department which allows appointment-only access will be required to take the
citizen’s temperature and shall refuse access if that citizen’s temperature
is at or above the current CDC guidelines.
Any citizen allowed
on an appointment-only basis will be required to wear a mask while in the
building and to follow CDC guidelines for social-distancing.
appointment-only access becomes available, it will be announced on the
county’s website, on its social media pages, and in the local media.
“We ask our
employees and citizens to be patient while we work through the steps in this
plan,” Blaney said.