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Although the Washington County Government Building is closed until August 12 due to an employee testing positive for Covid-19, the health department is still helping people.

According to Washington County Health Nurse Alicia Thompson, RN, the office has a designated window to assist the public.

“Anyone needing service may call the Health Department [(812) 883-5603] or knock on the designated window (far left window on the lower end of government building),” said Thompson. 

“Nurses continue to give immunizations by appointment only and done outside under the overhang at the glass double doors,” she said. 

“Due to the building being closed to the public, we can only take cash for any services needing to be paid for. Insurance will still be charged for those that are in-network with the health department,” according to Thompson. 

The government building and clerk’s office are closed to the public coming inside.

“Each office will conduct business as they did previously during our initial pandemic closure,” said Thompson. “It is best to call each office before showing up to verify what procedure the office is operating by.”

Thompson verified that there is a positive test for Covid-19 of a county employee. 

“That office has been closed and the employees sent home,” she said. “Because some of the ventilation systems are shared in the government building, as a precaution the entire government building has been closed to the public coming inside.”

Governor Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana State Department of Health have stated that essential employees may continue to work as long as they don’t exhibit symptoms and take all necessary PPE precautions around all other people.

“The Governor’s mask mandate states that all people over age 8 are required to wear a mask when in a public setting,” reminded Thomspon. “The only exception is if the person has a note from their physician stating that it is a safety hazard for that person to wear a mask. If that is the case, another barrier needs be worn such as a face shield. The county has added partitions as an extra precaution for public safety.”

Thomspon said county employees are allowed to be mask free when in their own office and socially distanced from everyone else.

It is up to the commissioners to mandate and enforce masks for all their employees as is the case for all employers to do with their employees.

“The health department always wears masks when dealing with the public unless in our own office and away from others,” said Thompson. “We are strictly abiding by Dr. Morgan’s guidance.”

According to Washington County Commissioner Rick Roberts, all county employees are supposed to be wearing masks. 

“We haven’t said one word if they have a choice,” he said by phone Thursday afternoon. “They have to do what everybody else does. Everyone in Indiana is required by Gov. Holcomb to wear a mask in public and social distance.”