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THREE MORE AREA RESIDENTS DIE FROM COVID-19; TOTAL NOW AT SIX

(Whitewater Valley)--The Whitewater Valley now has three more deaths directly attributable to Covid-19, bringing the total to six.  In Fayette County, an 80-year-old man who had multiple underlying health conditions died at Reid Health Connersville.  The man actually died there nearly two weeks ago, but test results now confirm the cause.  A 76-year-old man who was a resident of Greenville Health and Rehabilitation in Darke County that had tested positive has now died.  That facility alone has at least ten positive cases.  The Darke County Health District cautioned that as the number of cases increases, they may see more fatalities.  Franklin County officials received word Monday that a fourth person there has died.  Details of that person’s death have not been released.  Franklin County is part of a Covid-19 hotspot with now 28 confirmed cases.


RPD BEGINS TO ADD CHARGES FOR VIOLATING STAY-AT-HOME ORDER

(Richmond, IN)--Criminal charges are now being filed against people who violate the stay-at-home order in Wayne County.  It’s happened at least twice now.  RPD has not yet arrested anyone exclusively for violating the order.  But, if they commit another crime and are out with no legitimate excuse, the charge is added.  It happened early Tuesday morning when 43-year-old Crystal Beaty was stopped for operating while intoxicated on South West 5th.  Along with OWI, Beaty is now charged with a stay-at-home violation.  Arrested in a separate incident was 33-year-old Victor Sales.  He faces a similar stay-at-home violation after allegedly driving at nearly five times the legal limit.


30 OF 31 NEW COVID-19 TESTS AT REID ARE NEGATIVE

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health received results on a series of Covid-19 tests Monday.  The good news is that nearly all of those tests were negative.  Of 31 new results, only one was positive.  The other 30 of 31 tests that had been pending were negative.  There are now 22 test results pending.  Reid now has had a total of 99 tests come back with 11 of them positive, giving it an 11% positive rate.


WHITEWATER VALLEY HAS THIRD COVID-19 DEATH

(Brookville, IN)--The Whitewater Valley has now had its third Covid-19 death.  One patient, who was a Franklin County man in his 80’s, had been a patient at an Ohio hospital for the last ten days.  Officials received word of the third death Sunday.  Franklin County continues to have far and away more cases than most other area counties.  According to the state’s website, Franklin County now has 26 positives.  Ten patients who had been on in-home quarantine have been released, including a family of four where both parents tested positive.  It also includes four employees of a health care facility.  One tested positive and has since recovered.


UPDATED COVID-19 CASES BY COUNTY

(Whitewater Valley)--Preble County now has its first positive case of Covid-19.  Preble County health officials were notified of the positive test over the weekend.  The patient is 69 years old.  Here are the numbers for other counties according to Indiana and Ohio state websites.  Wayne County is still listed as having one case.  There are five in Fayette County, two in Randolph, one in Henry, and 26 in Franklin County.  Darke County has 12 and Butler County has 27.  Union County is now the only county in the Whitewater Valley without a Covid-19 case.


PART OF AREA LABELED COVID-19 "HOTSPOT"

(Franklin County, IN)--Part of our area has been labeled a “hotspot” by state health officials for Covid-19.  Franklin County now has 26 positive cases.  That’s an increase of six since Friday.  Those cases, combined with another 59 in Ripley and Decatur County, give that three-county region more cases per capita than not just Indiana, but the entire Midwest.  The state average for positive tests is 15%.  But, in that three-county area, the tests are coming back at more than 30%.


WINTER WAS ONE OF RICHMOND'S MOST MILD ON RECORD

(Richmond, IN)--Catching up on some non-Covid-19 news…winter has been over now for a little more than a week, and this will go down as one of Richmond’s mildest winters ever.  Check out these numbers.  Over the 91-day winter, Richmond had below-normal temperatures on just 16 of 91 days.  On average, we were seven degrees over normal every day.  There was only a total of 12 inches of snow.  The coldest temperature of the winter in Richmond was ten degrees.  That came on Valentine’s Day.


WAYNE COUNTY JOBLESS CLAIMS JUMP FROM 22 TO 623 IN ONE WEEK

(Wayne County, IN)--New numbers show the staggering effect of Covid-19 and the subsequent stay-in-place orders on the Wayne County economy.  In an average week, even as recently as last month, Wayne County averages about 20 new jobless claims per week.  Twenty.  Two weeks ago, there were 22 jobless claims filed.  Last week, there were 623 new jobless claims filed.  That number also represents a 5100% increase from the same week last year.  Other area counties have seen similar increases.  Fayette, Randolph, and Franklin County have all gone from around 15 claims in a week to an average of 150 last week.


NORTHEASTERN SUPERINTENDENT A FINALIST FOR OTHER JOB; BOARD MEMBERS RESIGN

(Fountain City, IN)--Northeastern Wayne School Superintendent Laura Blessing appears to be looking to get out.  Blessing is one of seven finalists to be the new superintendent at Miamisburg.  The time frame for the hiring has been pushed back due to Covid-19.  Meanwhile, Northeastern’s assistant superintendent is still the subject of a pending criminal investigation.  That investigation is being handled by the Indiana State Police.  Two school board members have resigned in the last two weeks.  The resignations of Kristin Lumpkin and Eric Fields were approved this week by the remaining three Northeastern Board members.  No reason for the resignations was provided.  Replacements for both Lumpkin and Fields are now being sought.


EMPLOYEES SAY SUNSHINE CAFE HAS PERMANENTLY CLOSED

(Richmond, IN)--Employees of the Sunshine Café on National Road West in Richmond indicated Thursday that the restaurant has closed permanently.  Those employees said that they were told of the closure early this week but did not provide a specific reason for the closure.  Sunshine Café had operated for decades and was known largely as an overnight place to eat.  Sunshine Café’s general manager did not return a message Thursday.


POSITIVE CASES IN FRANKLIN COUNTY JUMP TO 20

(Brookville, IN)--There has been an explosion of positive cases of Covid-19 in Franklin County.  Franklin County health officials have confirmed 11 new positive cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 20.  All new cases are adults.  Health officials are not saying if there is a common tie between all the news cases.  Franklin County has had the Whitewater Valley’s only Covid-19 death.  Here’s a look at positive cases by county according to state health officials.  Wayne County has one.  Fayette County is still at three.  Randolph County has two.  Butler County is now up to 21 cases.  Darke County has one.  Union, Preble, and Henry County have not had any presumptive positives.


WHITEWATER VALLEY HAS FIRST COVID-19 DEATH

(Franklin County, IN)--The Whitewater Valley now has its first Covid-19 death.  Franklin County announced Wednesday that a man in his 60’s died as a direct result of coronavirus.  The man’s name has not been released.  He had been hospitalized for nearly two weeks.  The location of where he was hospitalized has not been released.  Reid Health did initially see some patients from Franklin County who had tested positive for Covid-19.


PRIMEX USES "APOLLO 13" MOMENT TO DEVELOP 100,000 MASKS

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health is calling something being done by Primex Plastics an “Apollo 13” moment.  It's not the moment when Tom Hanks says "Houston, we have a problem."  It's more like when Ed Harris says "with all due respect, sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour."  In what is described as a series of miraculous circumstances, Primex developed, designed, and scheduled mass production of face shields to be used with special protective helmets at Reid in the fight against Covid-19.  And Primex did it all in just two days.  Just like in Apollo 13, they threw items on hand on a table and came up with the device.  Other health care facilities nationally are learning about the shield.  Primex is now working to produce 100,000 of them.


REQUESTS POUR INTO HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR COVID-19 TESTING

(Richmond, IN)--The Wayne County Health Department’s Executive Director told Wayne County Commissioners Wednesday that many people are calling the Health Department every day wanting to be tested for Covid-19.  Christine Stinson also had an ominous prediction, saying that they "know people in our community will die regardless of what we’re doing."  Still, Stinson reiterated that what’s being done at both the county and state level in terms of isolation will save lives.  She added that not all people experiencing symptoms will be able to be tested.


FLUCTUATION IN WAYNE COUNTY COVID-19 CASES EXPLAINED

(Richmond, IN)--The number of actual cases of Covid-19 at Reid Health and in Wayne County can be confusing, and there were a couple of changes Tuesday.  The one case that had been attributed to Wayne County has now been assigned to Fayette County, because that’s where the patient spent the majority of his time.  That patient has been caring for someone else who also has Covid-19.  But also Tuesday, Reid received its first confirmation of coronavirus at the hospital.  Four other tests are listed as presumptive positive.  There have been 21 negative tests at Reid, and 32 more are pending.


REID ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO CURB COVID-19

(Richmond, IN)--Reid Health announced Tuesday that it is taking additional steps to protect patients and staff through the Covid-19 emergency.  Visitors, in most cases, are being limited to personal caregivers.  All who enter are now required to have their temperature taken and are required to keep a mask on at all times.  There’s a new triage process for emergencies that begins outside.  Some outpatient physician practices have now closed to free up providers and staff.  The closed practices so far include Reid Family Health and Reid Medical Associates.  Clinics in Brookville and at Richmond’s Meijer also remain closed.


HOME DESTROYED, TWO OTHERS DAMAGED BY FIRE

(Richmond, IN)--One house was destroyed and two others were damaged in a house fire in Richmond early Wednesday morning.  It broke out in the 300 block of North 14th Street.  "We arrived on the scene and found heavy fire coming out of the windows.  Crews made an aggressive interior attack.  We had to come back out due to the fire growing in intensity," said Tim Brown with the Richmond Fire Department.  Not only was that house destroyed, but two others suffered exposed damage.  The total damage estimate is $87,000.  There were no injuries.  The house had no utilities, making the fire suspicious.


COUNCIL PASSES COVID-19 RELATED ORDINANCES

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Common Council gathered – mostly electronically – Monday night to take further steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  Council passed an ordinance to deposit city money only twice a week instead of daily.  Another officially extended to the city the orders that were announced last Friday that directs citizens to end all social gatherings and go out only for the essentials.  Mayor Dave Snow said Monday night that most citizens, so far, have been cooperative.


REID ACCEPTS DONATIONS OF HOMEMADE FACE MASKS

(Richmond, IN)--On Tuesday, Reid Health will begin to accept homemade face masks.  Reid said that it will accept those homemade masks as a way to provide contingencies because of national supply issues with Personal Protective Equipment.  They will make sure they’re laundered with infection control standards and then made available for use.  Reid has even posted directions on how to sew the masks on their website.  The masks can be dropped off in the valet area of Reid Health’s main entrance.


PAY EXTENDED TO COUNTY WORKERS IDLED BY COVID-19

(Richmond, IN)--A resolution was approved by Wayne County Commissioners Monday that will ensure county workers will be paid while they’re staying away from their normal places of employment.  The county’s department heads will determine which and how many employees will be necessary for those departments to function.  Other employees will be asked to work from home if possible.  Last week, city and county leaders called for all businesses to reduce staff by at least 30%.  Monday’s resolution includes pay for part-time county workers.


RICHMOND WEATHER

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