City of Goshen preparing measures to stay ahead of potential COVID-19 outbreak

GOSHEN, Ind. – Major Jeremy Stutsman announces Friday that the City of Goshen will be taking precautions in the coming weeks to slow a possible outbreak of COVID-19 in the city.

The city is consulting with Goshen Health, the Elkhart County Health Department, the Elkhart County Emergency Management Agency, Goshen Community Schools, Goshen College, and the Goshen Chamber of Commerce.

The City has been monitoring the situation and is aware of cases of COVID-19 being found in St. Joseph and Noble counties which both border Elkhart County.

Local health officials say they expect to confirm cases in Elkhart County soon.

“Our focus needs to be on taking preemptive steps to reduce exposure and further spread,” Mayor Stutsman said. “We know there will be economic consequences to canceling and postponing events, but this is a time when the health and safety of our community must come first.”

In order to slow the potential spread of the virus the City will:

  • Cancel all municipal events that have more than 50 people
  • Establish sanitizing procedures for all City buildings and facilities as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Cancel all City meetings except for Board of Works, City Council, Parks & Recreation Board, Plan commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and Redevelopment Commission, and others that are essential to comply with State statutes
  • Suspend all work-related non-essential travel by City employees outside the country
  • Cancel all Parks & Recreation Department classes, programs, and events
  • Require staff to conduct out-of-country business meetings remotely (excluding other government agencies)
  • Work on opening live streams of public meetings
  • Cancel the annual employee (and board and commission members) appreciation event

These measures will be put into place immediately and last until the end of April. At that time they will be reviewed and updated as needed.

The CDC and the Indiana State Department of Health ask individuals and organizations to practice social distancing, which calls to cancel large groups of people gathering in small, enclosed spaces.

Mayor Stutsman strongly suggests all nonessential gatherings be limited to 50 people.

“The most important time to start preventative measures is before a significant number of cases are registered in our community,” Dr. Dan Nafziger, Chief Medical Officer at Goshen Hospital, said. “Historic data on previous pandemics and epidemics show that preventative measures slow the virus’ spread, reducing the strain on our hospitals and medical teams.”

The Mayor also recommends businesses to employ remote technology for any meetings.

“We understand news of the outbreak and subsequent cancellations have already produced changes in daily life, but public participation and cooperation will be important in attempts to slow the spread in our community,” Mayor Stutsman said.

The City will continue to update its web page with local, state, and national resources.

“If you think you have contracted COVID-19, please contact the Elkhart County Health Department and your primary physician before you plan on going to a hospital or clinic,” Mayor Stutsman said. “This will allow the facilities to prepare the testing and for your arrival.”

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