Chesterton Tribune



Porter County Commissioners OK C19 action plan for offices

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The Porter County Commissioners approved a COVID-19 Safety & Action Plan at their meeting on Tuesday.

That plan 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.

Employee Testing

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.

Temperature Taking

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.

ISDH Testing

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 Armory.

That employee must provide documentation of a negative test result before he or she may return to work.

Masks and Other Safeguards

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.

Appointment Only

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.

When 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.


Posted 5/6/2020




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