MONTICELLO — County officers, employees and “visitors” to the White County Building in Monticello will be required to wear a protective mask after multiple positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed late Friday afternoon inside the building.
According to a local disaster emergency declaration order issued May 25 by the White County Commission (via Chris Springer, director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency), six positive cases have been confirmed inside the White County building, with several others having been exposed.
The order requires people entering the White County Building to wear a mask, which must cover the nose and mouth and be worn at all times while inside.
According to the White County government’s website, the county building remains closed to the public, except for those who enter by appointment-only. The commissioners encourage people to continue conducting business using online services, U.S. mail, e-file, email or phone.
The order issued May 25 states the White County Health Department “has recommended that additional protective measures be taken with respect to those entering and working in the White County Building, in order to address, control and reduce potential new cases of COVID-19 spreading therein.”
It also states all county offices within the building are limited to performing “essential functions” as defined by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-22 (https://bit.ly/3c2eQyX).
As of May 26, the Indiana Department of Health reported White County had 226 positive COVID-19 cases and eight deaths out of 1,238 administered tests.
County employees, the order states, are encouraged to work from home, and all people entering the building – employees and “visitors” – will be screened by responding to a “White County COVID-19 Screening Checklist.”
County employees who “affirmatively” answer any of the questions will be required to immediately report the same to their department head and isolate themselves from others while awaiting further instruction from the county’s human resources department, “after it received the department head’s report of the same.”
No one will be allowed to enter if they are COVID-19 symptomatic, whether or not they have been tested.
Asymptomatic county officers or employees with close contact exposure for COVID-19, the order states, are required to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure with or without a negative test result. “Close contact,” the order states, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition, as being within six feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolong period of time.
The order concludes that county officers or employees with confirmed positive COVID-19 may return to work after three days with no fever and other symptoms without the use of symptom-reducing medication, and at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
The order will expire on June 2.
On May 22 — the same day as the confirmed cases inside the building were announced — elections officials all voting from now until Primary Election day (June 2) will take place inside a tent outside the main entrance to the county building. It will be the only polling center in the White County.
The commissioners were unavailable for comment Monday.