Coronavirus roundup March 21st: Elections, Columbus parks, Our Hospice, BCSC, Pets

Primary election date moved to June 2

Governor Eric Holcomb joined Secretary of State Connie Lawson, Republican Party Chair Kyle Hupfer and Democratic Party Chair John Zody today to announce an agreement to move the date of this years Indiana primary election from May 5 to June 2.

All dates corresponding with the primary election will be moved by 28 days to reflect the new date of the primary. For example, military and overseas ballots are required to mailed 45 days prior to the primary election, so theyll move 45 days prior to June 2.

The right of citizens to elect their leaders in a free and open election is one of the cornerstones of America. In order to balance that right with the safety of county employees, poll workers and voters, delaying Indianas primary election is the right move as we continue to do all we can to protect Hoosiers health, said Gov. Holcomb.

Gov. Holcomb signed an executive order to suspend Indianas election statute and move the dates. The executive order is posted here:

In addition, Governor Holcomb, Secretary Lawson, Chairman Hupfer and Chairman Zody made the following recommendations to the Indiana Election Commission.

  • Suspend absentee by-mail rules to allow all Hoosiers the option to vote by mail in the upcoming primary election.
  • Allow county clerks to continually mail ballots from now through 12 days out from the new primary election date.
  • Confirm ballots with a May 5, 2020 date will be valid.
  • Enable medical professionals to be eligible members of traveling boards to vote nursing home and hospital patients.
  • Give family members the ability to deliver absentee ballots. Currently only a member of a voters household may take possession of their ballot.

As Indianas Chief Election Officer, it is my top priority to protect our elections, but, above all else, it is my duty to protect the health and safety of Hoosiers, said Secretary Lawson. I believe the bi-partisan recommendations we have asked the Indiana Election Commission to take will allow us to provide all Hoosiers the opportunity to vote.

Indiana Election Commission Chairman Paul Okeson has called a meeting of the Indiana Election Commission on Wednesday, March 25 at 10 a.m. to discuss the recommendations. The meeting will be held in the south atrium of the Indiana Statehouse.

Columbus extends closings of park facilities

The City of Columbus, following guidance from the Indiana Governors office and the Indiana Department of Health, and in support of the community strategy to mitigate and slow the spread of the virus, will close the following facilities to the public:

  • The Commons
  • Donner Center
  • Hamilton Community Center and Ice Arena
  • Columbus Gymnastics Center
  • Park Operations Service Center
  • Lincoln Park Softball Diamonds
  • Clifty Park Softball and Baseball Diamonds
  • Blackwell Park Soccer Fields
  • Rocky Ford Par 3 Golf Course
  • Donner Park Tennis Courts
  • Donner Park Pickleball Courts
  • Harrison Ridge Tennis
  • Lincoln Tennis
  • Richards Pickleball Courts

These facilities will reopen Friday, May 1. All other Parks and Recreation services and offices will remain open to the public and continue to serve the community.

If you or your child is signed up for a Parks and Recreation program that occurs during this time period, you will receive a separate communication from a Parks staff member.

We encourage the public to call or email Park staff to conduct business.

For more information or to register for future activities, visit

Our Hospice updates protection measures

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana wants to keep our community, patients, families and staff safe and healthy during the current pandemic.

Our staff has received updated training and we are closely following the professional health care recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Center for the Advancement of Palliative Care (CAPC).

Screening at the Hospice Center

The Hospice Center has initiated screening for anyone entering the center, including staff, guests and visitors. Everyone should enter the center through the main entrance, including anyone visiting the CRH Sleep Diagnostic Center or the Outpatient Palliative Care clinic. Screening is recommended for the health and safety of our staff and patients. Additional cleaning of public spaces has been initiated and the gift shop and salad bar at the Inpatient Center are closed until further notice.

Postponing the April 26 Broadway Memories Event

Our Hospice staff and board want to ensure you that the well-being of the Broadway Memories performers, patrons, staff and volunteers is of the highest priority.With current restrictions and the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the city of Columbus and the state of Indiana about limiting the number of people in a gathering for the next eight weeks, we have decided to postpone the Broadway Memories event that was originally scheduled for April 26. Ticket refunds are currently underway. We are in the process of identifying a new date in 2020 for this amazing event and will make sure that you are among the first to know of the new schedule. Questions can be directed to Brigitte Halvorsen at 812-314-8004 or emailed to [email protected]

Suspending Bereavement Groups

Our Tuesday Bereavement Groups, Beginning Again, which usually takes place at 2:00 PM and 5:30 PM at the Hospice Center, have been temporarily suspended. If you need grief support, we encourage you to contact our bereavement team at 812-314-8044 or email Cathy at [email protected].

Our monthly Wings for the Journey support group for parents who have experienced the death of a child has also been suspended. This group normally meets the third Thursday of each month at the Hospice Center. Please reach out to our bereavement team at 812-314-8044 or email Cathy at [email protected] if you need support.

We will continue to update you as appropriate during this time of rapid change.

BCSC restricts access to buildings

From: Dr. Jim Roberts, BCSC Superintendent

As we prepare to provide limited access to our buildings with the start of eLearning AND welcome back our Spring Break travelers, we want to ensure the safety of our school staff and community.

As indicated prior to Spring Break and with the continued concern with COVID-19, individuals traveling on a cruise to any location and/or to countries deemed high risk by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) must self-quarantine for 14 days. These countries currently include:

Level 3 Countries by CDC

China, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, Iran, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malaysia, South Korea, England, Scotland, Wales

For those who traveled domestically over Spring Break, we ask that you consider the area (number of cases), method of travel (plane, train, bus), and setting (crowded, closed-in) to determine if a self-quarantine might be necessary.

Travel in the US – CDC

For anyone needing to visit one of our buildings, whether having traveled or not, please consider the risk of getting and/or spreading COVID-19 to others AND wait to visit if experiencing a fever over 100.4, cough, or trouble breathing.

We greatly appreciate everyones efforts to take care of each other.

State offers guidance for pet owners

From: Bret D. Marsh, DVM, Indiana State Veterinarian, Indiana State Board of Animal Health

In the midst of all the life disruptions generated by COVID-19, I want to offer some guidance to pet owners who have/may have been exposed to the coronavirus. While much is still unknown about this virus, no evidence indicates that companion animals, including
pets, can get sick from or spread COVID-19. However, because we are still learning about this virus, we recommend that pets that have been in contact with COVID-19 patients should also remain in the home during the isolation period.

I hope these guidelines will help you understand how to care for your pet if you and/or your family are faced with quarantine:

  • Restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people.
  • Designate someone in the household who is not ill to feed, water and care for pets, if possible. If not, wash your hands thoroughly before and after feeding and handling pets.
  • People who are sick with COVID-19 should avoid direct contact with pets including petting, snuggling, kissing, being licked, and sharing food.
  • Pets should remain in the home and cared for at home as much as possible.
  • Prevent interaction with other animals and people outside the home (such as walking the dog). Do not take pets to the dog park, pet supply stores or boarding kennels.
  • If your pet requires veterinary care, contact your veterinarian ahead of time for guidance. Follow your veterinarians guidance before taking your pet to the clinic.
  • Service animals should remain with their handlers throughout the isolation period.

One more word of guidance: If you are unable to continue to care for your pet while ill, seek help from family, friends or neighbors. To be clear: No evidence suggests that companion animals will spread the disease. We recommend pets be thoroughly bathed when transferring to another caretaker. This step should remove any virus particles that are present on the coat.

We are hopeful that following these and other recommended public health measures will keep everyone healthy during this pandemic.