Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood talks city’s COVID-19 response

MISHAWAKA, Ind. - Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood finally addressing the public today with what the city is doing during this pandemic.

As travel advisories have gone in place in South Bend and St. Joseph County, Mishawaka has stayed resistant to that idea and chose not to join the county’s new COVID-19 response team. Mayor Wood holding his first news conference Thursday on the city’s go it alone efforts.

“According to the medical professionals that we speak with constantly, we are hearing that our citizens are doing a great job. The advice that they give us: stay the course and keep doing what we are doing because it is working in Mishawaka,” Mayor Wood said.

Right now, city operations are still up and running, including utilities but there are new modifications to city services that will limit staff interaction with the public.

Right now, Mayor Wood says workers are fully equipped with masks and PPE. They’ve also set up a drive-up test center to test public safety personnel and staff, however, no city employees have tested positive thus far.

As a part of the CARES act, the city is to receive over $280,000 in about a month. Mayor Wood said they intend to use that money in three ways.

The first is to help the local food pantry.

The second is a plan on partnering with a non-profit in order to help residents in need, pay for their utility bills.

The third - they are developing a Mishawaka “getting back to business plan” aimed at getting small business re-opened and keeping people working.

And with President Donald Trump set to speak this afternoon on new guidelines for

reopening some states, Mayor Wood said Mishawaka is not really known as a hotspot and they are ready to open things back up.

“I know they’re trying to monitor as best they can what different communities look like and even here within the county, we have hotspots and spots that are less impacted. Those are the kinds of data that need to be analyzed before decisions can be made,” he said. “But we know that we’re ready to come may if the Governor sees that we’re prepared to move to the next level, start opening things up. We want to be prepared for that and we are.”

The city’s COVID-19 task force still meets daily to discuss the city's response to the ever-changing situation.

Back in the city, Mayor Wood released information on a new initiative called Operation Quarantine Clean-up, an attempt to keep up with the increased amounts of the trash put on the curbs while everyone is home.

“We have seen a 49% increase in the weight within the carts,” Cody Humphrey with Republic Services said. “You’re looking at over 615 extra tons versus January and February alone. I’m not great at math so I did a little research. That’s the equivalent of 55 school buses of weight.”

“That creates a dilemma for our service provider Republic. The increased volume means that operators can’t get through their daily trash routes,” Mayor Wood said. “We’ve had some unintended consequences too, more trash at the curb and we’re also seeing some more dumping in our alleys, our dead-end streets and our vacant lots.”

The two-week program starts April 27th and runs through May 8th.

Officials are going to use this truck to assist residents in removing large bulk items like couches or other appliances.

You just have to call and tell them what items you want to be picked up and residents have to make sure the area is clear so that the truck can easily grab the items.

However, there will also be two drop-off locations residents can go to as well. All you need is your valid id and utility bill with the current address.

Mayor Wood mentioned that this is a trial run but it could become permanent down the road.

But for right now, all residents have to do is call Central Services at 574-258-1660.

They will not pick up the following items:

  • Paints, solvents, fertilizers or other household hazardous waste
  • Light bulbs of any type
  • Batteries of any type
  • Electronic devices
  • Any appliance that has coolant in the system like refrigerators.

Location drop-off will be at 1105 E. Fifth St. in Mishawaka and 2500 Greentech Dr. South Bend

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