GOSHEN — As Elkhart County grapples with the confirmed presence of COVID-19, officials say there are ways the public can help besides staying home to reduce the spread.

Emergency Management Director Jen Tobey told the Elkhart County Commissioners on Monday that the incident management team is active, after being established over the weekend. She said the group is meeting in her office every morning “till the end of this.”

“(There are) a minimum of four positives. But that’s more of a concern and being handled by the hospitals. What we’re looking at is all the other things,” she said. “Just got a message from the coroner: We do have a deceased person that needs to be tested, and no test kits. I’ve got to address that as soon as I get back to the office.”

She added that the joint information center will be releasing information on a regular basis.

“Definitely getting out there in front and communicating with our public, which is what they’ve been asking for,” she said. “You’re welcome to stop in at any time, just not all at the same time.”

Commissioner Mike Yoder said people have been asking how they can help. Tobey said there’s a huge need at hospitals for protective gear like masks and gowns.

She said people can find directions on how to make them online.

“A lot of people have reached out and asked if they can make them, and absolutely,” she said. “We’re not micromanaging what type of material or anything like that. The hospitals have basically told us something is better than nothing.”

In Elkhart, finished masks can be dropped off at the Elkhart Police Department, 175 Waterfall Drive, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and in Goshen, at the Elkhart Count 4-H Fair office 24 hours a day. The fair office is at Gate No. 3, 17746 C.R. 34.

For more information, contact Michelle Miller with the police department at Michelle.Miller@elkhart police.org.

The county is also looking for volunteers to help operate a phone bank and answer general questions. To participate, register at www. serv-in.org and indicate if you have medical training. The system will be able to verify your credentials.

For updates, follow the Elkhart County Health Department Health Education Division on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healtheducation.echd or its website at www.elkhart countyhealth.org.

Go to the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.isdh.in.gov/corona virus for up-to-date information on COVID-19.

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