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ISDH reports 10th Wabash County COVID-19 death
  • Updated

On Friday, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reported the 10th confirmed COVID-19 death in Wabash County. The ISDH has also reported an additional 69 new local positive COVID-19 cases since Wednesday.

Due to climbing local COVID-19 cases, Mayor Scott Long announced at Monday’s Wabash City Council meeting that the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and the city of Wabash have opened a free drive-thru clinic for COVID-19 testing.

The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Saturday, and also from Tuesday, Nov. 3 to Saturday, Nov. 7 at 1360 Manchester Ave.

Testing will be available to all members of the public regardless of symptoms. Children as young as 2 years of age can be tested with parental consent. Indiana residents will not be charged for testing. Those who have private health insurance should bring that information with them.

On Wednesday, Long said the site tested 140 people on Tuesday, the first day of testing.

Long said the turnaround on these tests was between three and five days, but some are coming back within 48 to 72 hours. Long said the results for those tests wouldn’t start being added to the state’s dashboard until Friday at the earliest, “as the courier doesn’t pick the tests up until around 3 p.m. daily.”

“I anticipate seeing increased numbers of tests for Wabash County beginning Friday and through the weekend, with ‘wishful’ thinking that positive cases won’t increase much,” said Long. “Note the ‘wishful’ as I believe we will see a dramatic increase. This is worrisome for me as mayor as we approach Thanksgiving, colder weather, and Christmas as this will drive people indoors in larger than normal family gatherings. This is a bad combination for the virus to spread.”

During the most recent update by the ISDH, Wabash County’s weekly score was downgraded from orange to yellow, the third-highest designation. The latest results are as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25. The county metrics map is updated at midnight Wednesdays and reflects data through the previous Sunday.

Also on Monday, Long said he had decided to keep the doors of City Hall locked and all business will be conducted by appointment only until further notice. Long said all city meetings will be either in person with social distancing or by Zoom meeting remotely. Long said masks will be mandatory to enter the building and must remain in place while conducting business.

Halloween changes

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Dr. David G. Roe, Wabash County health officer, said the Wabash County Board of Health was now discouraging mass gatherings where social distancing can not be followed.

On Monday, Oct. 26, Anne Gregory, assistant director of media relations in the Office of Strategic Communications at Manchester University, said the Monster Mash trick-or-treat planned for Saturday, Oct. 31 at Manchester University had been canceled.

Roe offered the following tips for those who do choose to still participate in Halloween events:

Wash or sanitize your hands often.

Clean frequently touched items.

Avoid close contact. Stay at least six feet away from all people who are not a part of your household.

Avoid spaces that don’t allow for the distancing of at least six feet between you and others.

Be sure to correctly wear face-covering when outside around others.

“A Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. The department also suggests not wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume makes it hard to breathe,” said Roe.

School figures

The ISDH’s latest school dashboard results are as of 11:59 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 and were updated Monday, Oct. 26. The dashboard is updated weekly at midnight Mondays.

Statewide, 562 schools reported no cases, 1,314 reported one or more case and 490 have not reported.

During the latest update, Wabash County schools with one or more confirmed cases included:

Manchester Jr./Sr. High School (MHS) reported fewer than five new student positive cases, six total student positive cases and fewer than five total staff positive cases.

Manchester Elementary School (MES) reported fewer than five total student positive cases.

Manchester Intermediate Schools (MIS) reported fewer than five each new student positive cases and total student positive cases.

Metro North Elementary School reported fewer than five total student positive cases.

Sharp Creek Elementary School reported fewer than five each new staff positive cases and total staff positive cases.

Northfield Jr./Sr. High School (NHS) reported fewer than five each new staff positive cases, total new student positive cases and total staff positive cases.

Southwood Jr./Sr. High School (SHS) reported fewer than five each new student positive cases and total student positive cases.

On the Manchester Community Schools’ (MCS) own dashboard the information is updated once contact tracing is complete and all close contacts have been notified. MCS defines close contact is when an individual is within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes of someone with confirmed COVID-19.

“The Wabash County Health Department determined close contacts in conjunction with school personnel and advised us who to quarantine,” stated MCS.

The individually reported MCS cases include:

Sept. 28: One case each at MES and MHS, with five people quarantined.

Oct. 10: One case at MHS, with one person quarantined.

Oct. 14: One case at MHS, with two people quarantined.

Oct. 15: One case at MES, with five people quarantined. And one case at MHS, with two people quarantined.

Oct. 16: One case at MHS, with 34 people quarantined.

Oct. 20: One case at MHS, with no additional people quarantined.

Oct. 21: One case at MIS, with one person quarantined.

Oct. 28: One case at MHS, with no additional people quarantined.

Schools of higher learning are not listed on the ISDH schools dashboard. However, Manchester University maintains its own, separate dashboard.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 27, the school had conducted 117 tests during the past seven days, with 99.1 percent of those being negative and .9 percent being positive. In total, there had been 1,685 tests performed, with 98.5 percent of those being negative, and 1.5 percent being positive. Also there had been 10 self-reported cases on the North Manchester campus, and three on the Fort Wayne campus.

During the latest ISDH update, Wabash County schools with no reported cases included:

O.J. Neighbours Elementary School

Wabash Middle School

Saint Bernard Elementary School

White’s Jr./Sr. High School

Southwood Elementary School

Only the Heartland Career Center and Emmanuel Christian School have not reported any data to the ISDH. Heartland Career Center allows students’ schools to report their data.

Emmanuel Christian School has not yet responded to a request for comment.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Long-term care facilities

The latest ISDH results for long-term care facilities are as of Wednesday, Oct. 21 and were updated Wednesday, Oct. 28. The dashboard is updated weekly at midnight Wednesdays. New positive cases and deaths have occurred over a range of dates but were reported to the ISDH seven days before the last dashboard update.

In Wabash County:

Rolling Meadows Health Care Center in La Fontaine reported 45 total resident cases, 10 total resident deaths and 10 total staff positive cases.

Peabody Retirement Community in North Manchester reported nine total resident positive cases, fewer than five total resident deaths and 77 total staff positive cases.

Timbercrest Senior Living Community in North Manchester reported fewer than five each total resident positive cases, total resident deaths and total staff positive cases.

Miller’s Merry Manor – Wabash East reported fewer than five each total resident positive cases and staff positive cases.

Wellbrooke of Wabash reported fewer than five staff positive cases.

Miller’s Merry Manor – Wabash East reported fewer than five each new resident positive cases, total resident positive cases and total staff positive cases.

No other long-term care facilities in Wabash County reported cases to the ISDH.

Local figures

On Wednesday, the ISDH reported 30 new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 489, with 6,368 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 7.1 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 12.4 percent.

On Thursday, the ISDH reported 19 new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 507, with 6,470 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 6.3 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 10.8 percent.

On Friday, the ISDH reported 20 new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 526, with 6.538 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 6.4 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 11.3 percent.

As of Friday, the ISDH reported the following Wabash County demographics for positive cases by age group:

Ages 0 to 19: 14.3 percent

Ages 20 to 29: 16.5 percent

Ages 30 to 39: 13.5 percent

Ages 40 to 49: 11.8 percent

Ages 50 to 59: 11 percent

Ages 60 to 69: 12.5 percent

Ages 70 to 79: 11 percent

Ages 80 and above: 9.3 percent

The ISDH reported the following gender breakdowns for Wabash County positive cases:

Female: 61.4 percent

Male: 37.8 percent

Unknown: .8 percent

The ISDH reported the following racial breakdowns for Wabash County positive cases:

White: 77.6 percent

Other race: 9.1 percent

Black or African American: 1.1 percent

Asian: .4 percent

Unknown: 11.8 percent

The ISDH reported the following ethnic breakdowns for Wabash County positive cases:

Not Hispanic or Latino: 66.2 percent

Hispanic or Latino: 3 percent

Unknown: 30.8 percent

Statewide figures

On Friday, the ISDH announced that 3,205 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. These results stem from a record 41,181 tests reported to the state in the last 24 hours.

A total of 175,893 Indiana residents are now known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard, while 4,050 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 26 from the previous day. Another 236 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by the state and occurred over multiple days.

To date, 1,684,783 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 1,671,093 on Thursday. A total of 2,863,919 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26.

Besides the Wabash location, the ISDH will offer free drive-thru testing sites from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the following locations:

Lake County Health Department, 2900 W. 93rd Ave., Crown Point.

Morgan County Fairgrounds, 1749 Hospital Drive, Martinsville.

White Horse Christian Center, 1780 Cumberland Ave., West Lafayette.

To find other testing sites around the state, visit www.coronavirus.in.gov and click on the COVID-19 testing information link.

Auction leads to historic renovations

On Dec. 30, 2019, Cleo D. “CD” Snyder, 96, of Wabash, died in Fort Wayne. Over the years, he had accumulated several properties, many of which he rented out.

In August, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company set up signs around town advertising 23 of Snyder’s previous tracts available to be bid upon. These included 19 homes and rental properties in Wabash, one home in Fort Wayne and 19-plus acres with a home, potential building site and woods near Larwill. In total, there were six single-family homes, 14 homes with 35 apartments, a 10-unit apartment building and a warehouse with an apartment.

“The family still lives here in Wabash,” said Gary Snyder, Gary Bailey Auctions, independent auction manager for Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company, on Monday, Aug. 24, the morning before the auction at the Urbana Lions Club Building. “They decided to put these up for auction.”

Snyder said they had a “pretty good mixture” of people interested in the properties.

“We’ve got homeowners, flippers, people that already have rentals,” said Snyder.

Indeed, there was a mix, as Indiana Landmarks acquired six historic houses in one Wabash neighborhood at the auction, with plans to rehab the exteriors and add curb appeal before putting the properties back on the market in early 2021, according to Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks on Oct. 5.

All of the houses are located in the East Wabash Historic District, a National Register-listed neighborhood roughly bounded by Walnut, East Market, North Wabash and South East streets. The properties recently served as rental housing, most divided into apartments.

Built from the 1870s to the 1910s, the houses illustrate the range of architectural styles in the historic district.

Acquiring the houses and rehabbing the exteriors is expected to cost $770,000, funded by Indiana Landmarks, the city of Wabash and donations from private individuals and organizations.

Keith Gillenwater, president and CEO of Grow Wabash County, said they were “thrilled” to partner with these groups to make this project possible.

“We are very lucky that we have such a committed group of patrons here who are willing to step up to save these homes and help to redevelop our neighborhoods,” said Gillenwater on Oct. 7. “Grow Wabash County is involved in several housing and redevelopment projects, so to have an organization like Indiana Landmarks answer the call yet again to save and renovate some of these homes that give Wabash the character that residents and visitors alike appreciate so much is amazing. This is Wabash in a nutshell – everyone working together to get things done.”

The six houses include:

143 E. Main St.

196 E. Main St.

218 E. Main St.

189 N. Wabash St.

106-108 E. Hill St.

58 N. Allen St.

Previously, Indiana Landmarks partnered with the City to acquire and repair the 1848 Alber House, Wabash’s oldest extant house, and with the Wabash County Commission on the 1880 Wabash Sheriff’s House and Jail, a former entry on Landmarks’ 10 Most Endangered list now on the market for $79,000.

COVID-19 outbreak postpones Grant County murder trial
  • Updated

Amanda Dawn Carmack won’t appear in court until at least Nov. 4 after the court issued an order Tuesday to postpone the remaining portions of the murder trial.

At least three people involved in the case contracted COVID-19, according to the order. Grant County Circuit Court Judge Mark Spitzer wrote Tuesday that all parties involved agreed to postpone the proceedings during the advised quarantine period.

Spitzer said an “individual associated with the trial” received notice that they were exposed to a COVID-19 positive person on Thursday, Oct. 22. That person was immediately excused, according to the order.

The court received testing information over the weekend, Spitzer says, indicating a positive result.

The court consulted with the Grant County Health Department and Marion General Hospital’s Infection Control Department officials. The county tested everyone involved with the case, at county expense, on Monday, Oct. 26, the day the trial was expected to resume from weekend recess.

The testing found at least two other individuals had COVID-19. The health officials advised the court to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention self-quarantine guidelines, Spitzer says.

The trial will be in recess until Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 8:30 a.m. following health recommendations.

Due to privacy laws, Spitzer said, in an email to the Chronicle-Tribune, there are confidentiality limitations regarding providing further details to the public.

This story will be updated as more information is made available.

Don't forget to vote

The number of opportunities to make your voice heard at the ballot box is dwindling as Tuesday’s Election Day marks the end of the 2020 campaign cycle.

With that in mind, here’s a look at who will be on your ballot, and how to cast your vote.

School board

In August, the Wabash County Clerk’s Office has finalized the list of MSD and Manchester Community Schools (MCS) boards’ candidates which will be on the November general election ballot.

MSD: One or two from the South district may be elected. One from Northeast and one from the Northwest district may be elected for a total of three seats. Northeast: Christian Rosen and Todd Topliff. Topliff is currently the board’s secretary. Northwest: Scott Haupert.

MCS: One member is elected from each district. The districts are Chester 1 and 2, Pleasant Township and the Town of North Manchester. Chester Township: Anthony Ayres, Boyd A. Brubaker. Pleasant Township: David E. Kewish, Brian M. Ramer. Town of North Manchester: Robert Bucher, Brice Bedke, Margaret “Meg” Gardinier, Russell “Russ” Reahard and Kent Ulrey. Bedke is currently serving on the board. Most recently, Reahard ran unsuccessfully in the primary election against Craig Snow for the Republican Party nomination for the State Representative District 18 seat currently held by the retiring Rep. David Wolkins, R-Warsaw.

Judicial retention

The following statewide judges will be up for retention:

Christopher M. Goff, Justice of the Supreme Court of Indiana.

Elaine B. Brown of the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

Margret G. Robb of the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

Melissa M. May of the Fourth District Court of Appeals.

Cale Bradford of the Second District Court of Appeals.

Other races on the ballot

The rest of the races on the ballot include:

President: Incumbent Republican President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will face Democratic challenger Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, and Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen and their running mate, Spike Cohen.

Governor: Incumbent Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch will face off against Democratic challenger Woodrow (Woody) Myers and his running mate, Linda Lawson, and Libertarian Donald Rainwater and his running mate, William Henry.

Attorney General: Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel will face Republican Todd Rokita.

U.S. Representative District 2: Incumbent Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski will face Democrat Patricia (Pat) Hackett.

State Representative District 18: Republican Craig Snow will face Democrat Chad Harris.

Judge of the Superior Court: Republican Benjamin D. Vanderpool is running unopposed.

Wabash County Auditor: Republican Marcie J. Shepherd is running unopposed.

County Treasurer: Republican Luann Layman is running unopposed.

Wabash County Coroner: Republican Ken Brown is running unopposed.

County Surveyor: Republican Cheri Slee is running unopposed.

County Commissioner District 1: Republican Brian K. Haupert is running unopposed.

County Commissioner District 3: Republican Barry J. Eppley is running unopposed.

County Council At Large: In the primary election, totals for the Republican Party were Matt Dillon (2,745 votes, 34.24 percent), Philip Dale (2,651 votes, 33.07 percent) and Lorissa Sweet (2,621 votes, 32.69 percent). The Wabash County Democratic Party did not run a candidate.

Early voting

Lori Draper, Wabash County clerk, said during the first four days of early voting, their office had seen 1,146 voters cast their ballots by 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. Draper said they had 2,288 in-person voters at their office by 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16.

On Sunday, Draper said they had a total of 1,060 early voters on Saturday alone.

Draper said that brings their early voting total for this year to 4,904 voters.

On Saturday, Oct. 31, early voting will be available from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wabash County Clerk’s office at the Wabash County Judicial Center, 69 W. Hill St.; Town Life Center, 603 N. Bond St., North Manchester; and the Liberty Township Fire Department, 12 S. Wabash Ave., Lafontaine.

Monday, Nov. 2 is the final day for early voting, with hours from 8 a.m. to noon in the Clerk’s office.

Absentee ballots due

As of Tuesday, Oct. 13, Draper said they had mailed 1,890 absentee ballots and 1,148 of those had been returned, not counting that day’s absentee numbers.

On Monday, Oct. 19, Draper said as of 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, they had 1,417 absentee ballots returned and 1,972 absentee ballots requested.

By comparison, in the 2016 November presidential election Draper said they had a total of 384 absentee ballots.

Draper said absentee by mail ballots are due at the Clerk’s office by noon Tuesday, Nov. 3.

“If you still have your absentee ballot at home, please get those to us,” said Draper, on Friday.

Election Day voting

On Election Day, voting center locations will include Heartland REMC, 350 Wedcor Ave.; First United Methodist Church, 110 N. Cass St.; Lagro Town Hall, 230 Buchanan St., Lagro.; North Manchester Public Library, 405 N. Market St., North Manchester; Pleasant Township Fire Department, 10459 N. Ogden Road, Laketon; and Town Life Center, 603 N. Bond St., North Manchester.

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) previously announced that all BMV branches will extend hours of operation on Monday, Nov. 2 and Tuesday, Nov. 3 to issue ID cards and driver’s licenses to be used for identification at a polling place. Branches will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2, and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3. All locations will remain open through the lunch hour. As required by state law, branches will only process new, amended, or replacement ID cards, and renewed, amended, or replacement driver’s licenses and learner permits. All branches will resume regular business hours Wednesday, Nov. 4.