Public Health Advisory from the Allen County Health Commissioner – August 23, 2021

Update: August 23, 2021: From the Office of the Allen County Health Commissioner:

We continue to be in the midst of a global pandemic of COVID-19 that has taken more than 600,000 American lives. The vaccination rate for Indiana and Allen County lags behind the national average despite safe and effective vaccines being readily available. There is currently an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases in Allen County and Indiana, which is coupled with a rapid increase in hospitalizations. The delta variant has been the cause of most of our new COVID-19 cases and appears to spread more easily.

Because of our current situation, I’m urging Allen County residents to take the following actions:

  1. Get vaccinated. All three vaccines are safe, effective and remain the most important tool in reducing your personal risk of severe disease and protecting the hospitals and healthcare workers.
  2. Wear a mask indoors. Allen County remains an area of HIGH COVID-19 spread and CDC recommends universal masking in areas of HIGH or SUBSTANTIAL spread, regardless of vaccination status. The current level of spread can be visualized here: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view
  3. Mask in K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status. While children are at lower risk for hospitalization and death, this is not a benign illness in children. Children under 12 are not eligible for any of the vaccines. Children who are infected can easily spread the disease in their households and are an important driver of overall community spread. Vaccinations and masks are our best tools for keeping schools open this fall. We strongly recommend school boards adopt universal masking in Allen County K-12 schools.

It’s critically important we not overwhelm our healthcare systems or our healthcare workers.  Our systems are rapidly filling up with very ill COVID-19 patients. Our healthcare workers are exhausted and not yet recovered from the last surge in the fall and winter. We have an obligation to our community, and I urge all Allen County residents to take the actions listed above.

Signed (electronically),

Matthew Sutter, MD, MBA, FACEP
Allen County Health Commissioner

Previous Local Updates…

Update: June 17, 2021

Source: Allen County Department of Health

Fort Wayne, Ind. (June 17, 2021) –  The health department will move all future COVID-19 shots to its New Haven Avenue clinic location beginning Tuesday, June 22, 2021 after the mass vaccination site at the Coliseum closes on Thursday, June 17.

Anyone eligible can get COVID-19 vaccinations at the department’s Medical Annex, 4813 New Haven Ave., beginning Tuesday, June 22, with appointments available from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; Mondays will be added to the vaccine appointment schedule beginning July 12.

Appointments are still encouraged and will be prioritized, but walk-ins will be accepted as time allows. Vaccination appointments can be made at www.worthashot.org or by calling 260-449-7504 and selecting menu option 1.

The department is offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 12-years-old or older, which requires two doses administered at least 21 days apart. Appointments will be scheduled for the second dose during the first vaccination.

A valid picture ID and facemasks are required, and anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

The health department’s mass vaccination site opened at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave., Jan. 13 and has allowed staff to provide more than 40,000 COVID-19 shots in six months.

Allen County Health Department urges ALL Eligible Residents 12+ to Take The Winning Shot

Update: May 13, 2021

Source: Allen County Department of Health

Fort Wayne, Ind. (May 13, 2021) –The Allen County Department of Health is encouraging eligible youth ages 12 and up to “take the winning shot” and get vaccinated so they don’t have to miss out on activities because of COVID-19. 

“We want to encourage all our Allen County families to take the winning shot and get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible,” said Mindy Waldron, administrator for the Allen County Department of Health. “Taking the shot could be your ticket to avoiding quarantines if you get exposed to COVID-19, which could mean fewer missed games, competitions and other activities. And it can also mean fewer travel testing requirements for those upcoming summer vacations.”

Anyone 12-years-old and older is now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine at the Department’s site at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. Appointments are still encouraged and can be scheduled at WorthAShot.org. The Department has also compiled frequently asked questions geared toward children and their parents to help them make informed decisions regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, which can be accessed on the website.

“While young people may be low-risk for COVID-19 complications, they are still getting severe disease and can even die,” said Dr. Matthew Sutter, Allen County health commissioner. “Many young people have long-term problems from COVID-19 like lung, heart and nerve problems, and there could be other effects that become apparent in the future. But getting fully vaccinated is safe, effective and significantly lessens those risks.”

The Department is offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 12-years-old or older, which requires two doses administered at least 21 days apart. Appointments will be scheduled for the second dose during the first vaccination.

Anyone under 18-years-old must be accompanied by an adult (preferably a parent or guardian), who will need to bring ID and attest to the youth’s age. Accepted identification for adults include a driver’s license, state ID, military ID, birth certificate, passport or Medicaid card.

Vaccination appointments for all Indiana sites can be made at ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211.

A Quick Contact Guide for Coronavirus Information

Please Note: if you are concerned about a friend or family member’s well-being and/or mental status based on conversations you’ve had with them, encounters you have experienced, or what they posted on their social media accounts, FIRST, dial 911 in an emergency and then contact the social media outlets directly.

Local and Regional Coronavirus resources

Allen County Department of Health

Hotline: (260) 449-4499, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Website: https://www.allencountyhealth.com/get-informed/covid-19/

Indiana Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline

Hotline: 1-877-826-0011 (open 8 a.m. ET-Midnight ET seven days a week)

Website: https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/

Mental Health Resources

Park Center – Fort Wayne, IN

Crisis Hotline: 800-552-0985

Website: http://www.parkcenter.org/

Northeastern Center, Inc. – Kendallville IN

Crisis: 800-790-0118

Website: http://www.necmh.org/

Otis R. Bowen Center for Human Services, Inc. – Warsaw, IN

Phone: 574-267-7169

Website: http://www.bowencenter.org/

Resources from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)- A List curated by NAMI of Fort Wayne:

https://www.namifortwayne.org/local-resources

State and National Resources

Indiana

Indiana Vaccine Signup: Call 211 or sign up online at https://vaccine.coronavirus.in.gov/

Indiana Department of Health:

Hotline: 1-877-826-0011 (open 8AM-8PM ET)

Website: https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/

Ohio

Ohio Department of Health

Hotline: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)

Website: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/

National

CDC (Centers for Disease Control)

Hotline: 1-800-232-4636

Website: https://www.coronavirus.gov/

Mental Health Resources

From the National Institute of Mental Health:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255); En Español 1-888-628-9454
The Lifeline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing loss can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.

Crisis Text Line
Text “HELLO” to 741741
The Crisis Text hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the U.S. The Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, connecting them with a crisis counselor who can provide support and information.

Veterans Crisis Line
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 or text to 838255
The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource that connects veterans 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a trained responder. The service is available to all veterans, even if not registered with the VA or enrolled in VA healthcare. Veterans who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing loss can call 1-800-799-4889.

Disaster Distress Helpline
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746

The disaster distress helpline provides immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. The helpline is free, multilingual, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Hotline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

Learn about our Local Weekly Shows…

CORONAVIRUS: A Live Community Forum

Click or tap on this link or the image at left to choose from all the episodes in this series, by date originally broadcast.

The conversation and call-ins continued Friday evenings at 7:00pm with local experts such as Dr. Deborah McMahan, Commisioner, Allen County Department of Health, Dr, Jay Fawver, psychiatrist and host of Matters of the Mind, plus other area medical and community leaders. This one-hour special program  aired during March, April and the first week of May 2020.

The programs also featured a phone bank comprised of health care professionals assisting viewers with questions when they call in during each week’s live broadcast.

CORONAVIRUS: A Mental Health Roundtable

Dr. Jay Fawver hosted CORONAVIRUS: A Mental Health Roundtable, special editions of Matters of the Mind Mondays at at 7:30pm on PBS Fort Wayne during March and April 2020.

Dr. Fawver, along with other regional mental health experts — including Dr. Siquilla Liebetrau, a licensed clinical psychologist at the Bowen Center in Warsaw and Dr. Matthew L. Runyan a psychiatrist in Fort Wayne, affiliated with Parkview Regional Medical Center — continued the discussion about how the COVID-19 Pandemic can affect mental health.  New suggestions, coping strategies and resources viewers may access while social distancing or staying at home are part of the discussion in each show.

More Resources…

Be Well Indiana: A Comprehensive Online Wellness Resource

Click on this image to learn more.
Local Resources: Links to local resources with Coronavirus information
Click on this image to learn more.
From PBS Parents: How To Talk To Your Kids About the Coronavirus
Click on this image to learn more.
From PBS: A Curated Directory of What You Should Know
Click on this image to learn more.

Scientists around the globe are racing to uncover the secrets of the coronavirus behind the COVID-19 pandemic—and using revolutionary techniques to develop lifesaving treatments and vaccines.

Click on this link or the image above to stream the special.

CONFRONTING CORONAVIRUS: A PBS NewsHour Special

This special, from PBS NewsHour, focuses on health precautions for individuals and the public at large, as well as the pandemic’s economic impact in both the United States and globally.

 

Click on the image above to stream this program

From PBS: A COVID-19 Financial Survival Guide

Who are the most economically vulnerable to the pandemic, how can you get financial support, and how can you help out?
Click on this image to learn more.

VIDEO: What Flattening The Curve Means

VIDEO: NOVA-How serious is the Coronavirus?

VIDEO: PBS Digital Studios: Can Soap Really Kill the Coronavirus?

PBS Digital Studios: How do Hand Santizers Work?

FAQs: What Did the Governor’s Stay At Home Order Mean?

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School closed? The PBS Kids Daily Newsletter connects you to new resources and more.
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Tips on How To Shelter in Place: NASA Astronauts

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Resources and more for you…

As concern about the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic continues, PBS Fort Wayne presents a collection of programs and resources we produced earlier with timely and relevant information on the spread of the virus.

CORONAVIRUS: A LIVE COMMUNITY FORUM, Friday, a new series that was seen Fridays at 7:00pm on PBS Fort Wayne, was produced live in our studio and features conversations with Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deb McMahan, Dr. Jay Fawver, plus other local medical and community leaders. Local viewers also have the opportunity to call in questions to a phone bank of health care professionals. during each live broadcast.

CORONAVIRUS: A Mental Health Roundtable, which aired Monday evenings at  7:30pm, was hosted by Dr. Jay Fawver (host of Matters of the Mind) discussing how the COVID-19 Pandemic can affect mental health. The show features other regional mental health experts offering suggestions, coping strategies and tips for viewers on where to find resources to help them through this crisis.

CONFRONTING CORONAVIRUS: A PBS NEWSHOUR SPECIAL aired earlier this year and featured interviews with officials and a virtual town hall with curated questions from across the nation.