An advisory committee has been formed in Fulton County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The committee, comprised of local officials and department heads, is responsible for strategic decision-making and coordination of daily briefings to keep the public informed.

Committee members gather each morning for a conference call to report on the situation, gather information and share concerns. The committee is being headed up by Fulton County Emergency Management Agency Director Larry Hoover and Communications Director Gail Karas, both of whom are active on the Local Emergency Planning Committee. That committee assists in preparing for emergencies; however, its focus is typically on hazardous materials.

The newly formed advisory committee for COVID-19 includes participation by not only county officials but also the city of Rochester and towns of Akron, Kewanna and Fulton. Among those involved are Rochester Mayor Ted Denton, Clerk-Treasurer Shoda Beehler, Police Chief Andy Shotts, Fire Chief Tom Butler, Fulton County Sheriff Chris Sailors, Fulton County Commissioners Bryan Lewis, Rick Ranstead and Steve Metzger, Fulton County Health Officer Dr. Kevin Reyburn and Health Nurse Rhonda Barnett and Rochester Schools Superintendent Jana Vance, as well as representatives of Woodlawn Hospital and town officials.

“We’re just trying to make sure everybody’s on the same page,” Lewis said, noting any changes in the situation are being reported by the Fulton County Health Department throughout each day.

The health department is preparing the daily briefings, which include information on test cases in the county, pharmacy and grocery store hours, food pantries and closings.

As of Wednesday, there were no positive test cases of COVID-19 in Fulton County.

Lewis says the committee is still ironing out details on the chain of command for reporting to make sure that process is as efficient as possible.

“We want to let the citizens know what’s going on and just try to keep everybody as calm as we can,” he said.

He noted every county in the state of Indiana should be doing the same thing. Fulton County’s advisory committee for COVID-19 formed last week.

Among recent topics discussed by the committee were the preparedness of Woodlawn Hospital for COVID-19 cases and the identification of school spaces that could function as emergency response areas.

The situation would have turn extreme for school spaces to be used; however, Lewis noted preparation has already begun on that front with the cleaning and sealing of rooms.

With schools being closed, there has also been discussion about getting extra personal protection supplies not being used to first responders.

Lewis says the main role of the committee is to support the Fulton County Health Department and Woodlawn Hospital with whatever they need.

Among the information on Wednesday’s daily briefing:

Announcements

If you are returning from vacation self-quarantine for five days, do not leave the house and if you develop symptoms call 224-1131 immediately.

County and city officials have had a conference call with U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd Dist., reassuring officials that aid will soon be available.

Medication/pharmacy

Kroger, 223-6347, drive-through and walk-up window open Monday-Friday 9 a.m-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; CVS, 224-4304, drive-through Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Walgreens, 223-3249, drive-through and some shopping if needed, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Walmart, 223-9482, drive-through only on the side of the building by the hotels, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Sunday; Webb’s Akron, 574-893-4413, curbside pickup only/deliveries on extreme cases, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m., closed Sunday; Webb’s Rochester, 223-2216, curbside pickup and delivery, drive-through, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Sunday.

Grocery stores

Kroger, 223-3881, seniors and at-risk shoppers 7-8 a.m., others 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Save-A-Lot, 224-3434, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Dollar General Akron, 574-353-0168, and Rochester, 765-319-8775, seniors and at-risk shoppers 8-9 a.m., others 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Viking Foods, 574-893-4563, Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Walmart, 223-9481, seniors and at-risk shoppers 6-7 a.m. Tuesday mornings only, others 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Meals/food banks

Grace United Methodist Church has canceled free meals on Wednesday;

The Cross, 223-3107, Matthew’s Market, 100 W. 3rd St., Monday and Friday 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Thursday 4-6 p.m.;

Kewanna Food Pantry, 574-653-9052, 114 S. Toner St., serves Aubbeenaubbee, Union, and Wayne Townships, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Thursday;

United We Stand Ministries of Akron, 574-893-4121, 301 S. West St., serving Henry and Newcastle townships by appointment only, 2-4 p.m. Thursday pickups.

Closures

Effective Wednesday the Fulton County Courthouse doors will be locked and only media, litigants and their attorney(s) with scheduled hearings shall be allowed in the courthouse. Please file a motion to continue your case if you are sick. Nonessential hearings as determined by the courts may be continued on the court’s own motion. Please contact the court in which your case is filed if you have any questions. Circuit Court: 223-4339. Superior Court, 223-3506.

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