Statement regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) from Dr. Treva Hodges, Mayor of Charlestown
As we continue to learn more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and make adaptations to help contain its effect on our community there’s no doubt that the next few weeks will be hard. For many of us the necessary decisions being made to benefit the public good are creating extreme personal inconveniences and challenges. It is imperative that we unify against the rapid spread of this virus. And this is where I know the Charlestown community will succeed, for nobody has the ability to unify in trying times quite like we do.
My administration has a plan to help with containment of this virus but our success ultimately depends upon your participation as community partners. Let me encourage you not to panic but to be prepared, not to spread fear, but to share medically valid information. Medical experts agree that, while most healthy people who contract this virus will recover after relatively mild symptoms, the threat to our elderly citizens and people who have chronic health problems or who suffer weakened immune systems is severe. We have a duty, all of us, to help protect those among us for whom this virus poses the greatest threat.
Internally all City offices and buildings have established containment protocols that include frequent sterilization of public touch surfaces, handwashing, and monitoring of personnel for signs of symptoms. We will take care of the people who work for you and we will ensure that essential functions continue without interruption.
Beginning immediately, all City sponsored public events except required public meetings of the Common Council, Board of Public Works, and various commissions, are cancelled or postponed until April 1st. I do not make this decision lightly, but am heeding the advice of the Clark County Health Department, Indiana State Department of Health, and other government agencies who have recommended limiting public gatherings of large numbers of people. Though it is difficult for us to see so many of our beloved annual traditions and events suspended, I agree with medical professionals that such social distancing is in the best interest to our overall community wellbeing. We will monitor the situation over the next two weeks to make determinations about events currently planned for April.
I must also ask you as individuals and families to make decisions with our entire community in mind. Regularly check on elderly family members or neighbors who may live alone – by phone if possible to avoid possible to avoid contact within the suggested six-foot distance.
Please employ appropriate hygienic practices such as frequent handwashing/sanitizing, covering your cough or sneeze with tissue or your sleeve and self-monitoring your medical symptoms. If you are healthy and begin to have symptoms of the virus such as fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, please stay home and call your regular medical provider for advice. If at any point you believe you are in medical crisis please call 911 and communicate to the dispatcher your specific symptoms and needs. If you are a member of our community who is at higher risk for contracting this virus, I urge you to stay home and limit your public exposure. If you need assistance with supplies and are unable to get out, please contact the Charlestown Trustee’s office at (812) 256-2104 or the North Clark Outreach Center at (502) 773-7474. You may also contact these numbers if you wish to donate supplies such as cleaning products, hand sanitizer, paper products, sanitary products, or nonperishable food items to help those who might be in need.
I know that the next few weeks will be difficult and we cannot predict the ultimate long-term outcome of this event. But I also know that we will do what Charlestown always does when presented with a challenge, we will pull together and support one another. I ask for your patience and cooperation. I assure you that we will keep you informed. If you have any questions you can always reach me personally at (502) 297-4390.