County hears updates on COVID-19 preparedness

By all accounts, it appears St. Joseph County is as prepared as possible for COVID-19.

A number of officials took part in a first-of-its-kind county commission meeting Monday. Conducted by teleconference, the hour-long meeting included the five-member county board, clerk Lindsay Oswald, administrator Teresa Doehring, and representatives from the county’s emergency management, health department, sheriff’s department, judicial system and Commission On Aging.

It marked the commission’s first meeting since Feb. 18, and the agenda was focused solely on coronavirus and how precautions are impacting county operations.

Sheriff Mark Lillywhite said the county jail currently has 93 inmates, far below its capacity of 165 people. He added that the department is not accepting bench warrants for the time being unless it’s a crime against another person, a felony, or an alcohol- or drug-related offense.

Other updates were provided by Doehring, district court judge Jeff Middleton, COA director Tim Stoll, emergency services director Erin Goff and Tri-County Health officer Rebecca Burns.

Commissioners plan to stage their April 1 executive committee meeting and their April 7 county commission meeting by phone, as they did Monday.

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