EDITOR’S NOTE: This story be updated following the Miami County Commissioners’ regular session to be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Commissioners met with elected officials who have offices in county buildings in a special meeting on Thursday morning, notifying officials of their planned precautions in response to the coronavirus pandemic, also referred to as COVID-19. Their plans include closing the Miami County Safety Building and the Miami County Courthouse to the public unless the members of the public have official business with the courts systems or appointments with the other offices housed in those buildings.
“We do have two reported cases (of COVID-19) in the county from Koester Pavilion,” commissioner Jack Evans said Thursday morning.
“This afternoon, we’re going to pass a resolution authorizing an emergency declaration. It will be effective for 30 days or until terminated or it can be renewed another 30 days,” Evans said. He said that qualifies the county for some emergency funds.
Evans brought up staffing with the officials. Some departments plan on rotating staff, with some staff using paid sick leave. Human Resources Director Tammy Hoover later said Congress is making changes to FMLA and sick leave requirements to give an additional, guaranteed two weeks of paid sick leave to certain workers, including employees of public and private entities, as well as 12 weeks off for childcare, during which time employers would pay two-thirds of the employees’ salaries.
Evans noted staffing changes will be difficult for some departments to manage due to needing to be open to serve the public, such as the Miami County Sheriff’s Office and the courts system.
“I know with the courts it’s going to be a major problem, because you have to be open,” Evans said.
Officials noted the demand on the courts system to remain open could change following orders from state officials. Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to give another press conference at 2 p.m. Thursday, which could hold potential changes.
The commissioners also notified the officials they plan to close the Safety Building and Courthouse to public beginning 4 p.m. Thursday. After which, the public will not be admitted into the buildings unless they have official court business or appointments with departments in the buildings.
It is also possible deputies at the security checkpoints at each of those building could take the temperatures of any employee and/or member of the public who is trying to enter the building, but digital thermometers to complete this task are still on order. Employees who come early to work before deputies are available to screen their temperatures are already being asked to self-check their temperatures.
Director Chris Johnson of the Operations and Facilities Department also notified the officials the county plans to “fog” the buildings this weekend as a sanitation precaution. Employees are already sanitizing public areas of county buildings two to three days daily.