HC sees 2 more deaths related to COVID-19
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]
Members of the Indiana National Guard are in Harrison County, assisting with food distribution.
This comes at a time when the county had two additional residents die as a result of COVID-19, bringing the total deaths related to the novel coronavirus to five. Both were women; one was 78, and the other was 99.
The number of county residents who have been tested for the novel coronavirus now totals 554, with 127 of them confirmed positive. That’s 19 additional persons who have test positive for COVID-19 from the previous week.
The Harrison County Health Dept. reminds residents to cover their mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. However, cloth face coverings should not be placed on those younger than 2 or those who have trouble breathing, who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove their mask without assistance.
Health officials ask that residents not use face masks meant for health care workers and to remember to continue to stay about six feet away from others, as the face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
Dr. Andrew Morton, the county’s health officer, said Monday that “unless specifically addressed by this health department … establishments shall adhere to Indiana Executive Order 20-22 or any succeeding executive order with regards, but not limited, to business operations.”
That particular order, which remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. May 1, ordered, among other things, non-essential businesses closed, only carry-out/delivery from restaurants and residents to stay at home except for completing essential activities.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is working with his team to develop a gradual re-opening of businesses.
Rick Cooper, executive director of Harrison County Community Services Inc., said the organization has continued its operations, albeit in a different way, without ceasing since the start of the COVID-19 crisis last month. As of March 26, the facility, located at 101 Highway 62 West in Corydon, is closed for the time being to the public.
“All food distribution at the agency is being done curbside,” Cooper said. “Those needing food can come to the parking lot and call to let staff know they are there. They stay in their cars while a food basket is prepared for them, based on household size. When complete, a grocery cart is taken outside to the bottom of the ramp to be taken by the family.
“When the empty cart is returned to the porch, it is disinfected by staff before it is taken back into the agency,” he said. “Social distancing is being practiced at all times.”
While there are no income limits to receive food from HCCS, there are income guidelines to receive USDA commodities as part of one’s food basket. Anyone needing food now or in the future is encouraged to visit HCCS for assistance.
In addition to food distribution at the agency, HCCS continues to do home deliveries to three housing complexes in Harrison County for low income, elderly or disabled individuals. HCCS is also continuing to assist those who need help with rent payments, utilities and prescriptions.
Anyone in need should call HCCS at 812-738-8143 and speak to a case worker who will handle all details by phone.
Cooper said that since Monday, HCCS relocated racks from its clothes closet to an outside wall of the building.
“This will allow those coming to get food to also obtain clothing, if needed,” he said.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program will continue until May 15, when the season comes to an end. Applications are being taken by mail. Those who need additional information or want an application need to call the agency.
Harrison County Community Services regularly has a mobile food pantry on the second Saturday of each month, in conjunction with the Dare to Care Food Bank, at Unity Chapel United Methodist Church south of Ramsey from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and at South Central schools near Elizabeth from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
“The April mobile food pantries were held as drive-thrus to follow CDC and Indiana Dept. of Health guidelines,” Cooper said. “All recipients stayed in their vehicles, and food boxes were placed in their trunks. For the first time since the service began in October of 2016, the supply of food ran out.”
On that day, 205 households (628 individuals) were served.
The next mobile food pantries will be May 9.
“The mobile food pantries, just like food services received at the agency, are open to anyone who needs food,” Cooper said. “Plans are being made for future mobile food pantries in the hopes that we can distribute food to anyone who comes, without running out.”
Harrison County Community Services has been working on new and innovative ideas to help everyone they can as they deal with school and business closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One way is to deliver emergency food boxes to schools that are doing packed lunches for their students. To date, they have distributed 251 food boxes to 219 households with 973 members that included 511 children, at Heth Washington Elementary and South Central schools.
“The food boxes contained items such as meat, peanut butter and ravioli,” Cooper said, adding that they are working to prepare an additional 1,050 boxes to be distributed in May, with the hopes of expanding to Morgan Elementary, Corydon Elementary and Corydon Central Junior High and High schools.
HCCS recognizes it could not do what it does without the help of many individuals and organizations.
“One group has been extremely helpful during this time,” Cooper said. “The Indiana National Guard has been providing daily support by sending personnel to assist in our operations. They have done everything from stocking shelves and cleaning to helping to distribute food. They have also put together food boxes for distribution throughout the community.”
In addition to the Indiana National Guard, the Dare to Care Food Bank continues to be a tremendous support by helping to provide additional food and guidance, Cooper said.
“Individuals, churches and other organizations continue to donate both food and money to help the cause,” he added. “HCCS is also grateful for the support from county government, Tyson and the Harrison County Community Foundation.”
For more information and updates, visit the agency’s website, www.hccsi.net, and follow it on Facebook.