New closures announced, others extended

Playground equipment at the city's parks has been closed as part of the effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Closures have been extended and new ones announced as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order asking that all “non-essential businesses” shut down and Hoosiers stay in their homes if at all possible went into effect today.

Emily Bunyan, director of the Knox County Public Library, issued a press release early Tuesday morning saying the facility will now be closed until May 1 on the advice of county health officer Dr. Alan Stewart.

“Temporarily closing the library will aid in social distancing, which is of the utmost importance now,” she wrote.

The closure includes all KCPL programs, outreach services and meeting room reservations.

Library officials said they will monitor the situation and an additional extension of the closure was possible. No overdue fines will be charged to items currently borrowed from the library.

The city, as earlier predicted, officially closed all public restrooms, such as the ones inside the pocket park in the 400 block of Main Street, as well as those at the city parks, where use of playground equipment is now prohibited.

City officials did, however, encourage people to go ahead and get outside, especially with the promise of nicer weather in the forecast today.

“We encourage individuals and families to still use the outdoor spaces of the parks,” the press release said, mentioning specifically the Vaughn Trail at Gregg Park and the Riverwalk. “We know people need to get outside, so take a walk, run or bike ride — just remember to continue practicing social distancing by remaining six feet away from other people.”

And Kirk Bouchie, general manager of Vincennes Water Utilities, officially closed its customer service office at 403 Busseron St. until April 6.

Previously, the office was open to take drive-thru payments only.

Now, local water customers must pay their bill online at www.vinutilities.com or by mail at P.O. Box 742, Vincennes, IN, 47591.

There are also two drop boxes located at the office.

In the event of an emergency, residents are asked to call 812-882-6620 for drinking water inquiries and 812-886-5011 for sanitary sewer.

Officials with the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park announced Tuesday that, in light of the governor's “stay at home” order, the visitors center would close until further notice.

The memorial has been closed.

The outdoor spaces will remain accessible to the public.

Local health officials still have not reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Knox County; they have tested patients, but all of those tests, so far, have come back negative.

There have been 365 confirmed cases in Indiana so far, as well as 12 deaths; a total of 2,931 tests have been reported to the Indiana State Department of Health

Due to a low number of testing kits and personal protection equipment, only those with severe symptoms of COVID-19 are being tested at this time.

Those with respiratory symptoms — common COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath — are asked to first call a nurse line at 812-885-3331.

Those deemed sick enough will then be directed to a drive-thru clinic set up outside the Convenient Care Clinic at 1813 Willow St. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekend.

The clinic now serves as a medical triage location for assessing patients' conditions, and if necessary, as a testing site for those who meet guidelines for testing of COVID-19.

Most patients, those with mild to moderate symptoms, will be directed on how to self-quarantine and care for themselves at home.

Those with severe symptoms or high-risk patients could be admitted to the hospital.

Other acute visits, that would normally be seen at the Convenient Care Clinic are being re-directed to the Medical Center of Vincennes, 406 N. First St.

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