Health Commissioner Recommends Allen County Residents Continue COVID-19 Precautions

Update: April 1, 2021

Source: Allen County Department of Health

Fort Wayne, Ind. (April 1, 2021) – The Allen County health commissioner urged residents to continue practicing COVID-19 precautions while virus spread and vaccination efforts are ongoing.

Dr. Matthew Sutter was joined by local elected officials, business owners and community leaders at a press conference at Citizens Square Thursday to announce his recommendations for continued vigilance with mask wearing, social distancing and other precautions even as state-wide mandates are rolled back.

“We are on the five-yard line,” said Sutter. “Now is not the time to spike the ball and start dancing. Let’s continue doing what got us this far so we can beat COVID-19.”

The county has seen a slight increase in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks. With holiday gatherings and spring break travel coming up and the Governor rolling back the state mask mandate, Sutter is concerned about the possibility of a spike in cases.

However, because crises previously seen with hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are not imminent, the Department will not implement any local restrictions at this time. Sutter instead strongly encouraged Allen County residents continue behaviors practiced during the past year of the pandemic that work to prevent the spread of this deadly virus for the health of the whole community, including:

  • Wearing a mask over their mouth and nose
  • Keeping at least six feet distance from others and avoiding crowds
  • Washing hands regularly with soap and water or using hand sanitizer when handwashing is not possible
  • Staying home when sick
  • Disinfecting and cleaning high-touch surfaces regularly
  • Getting vaccinated as soon as possible

Community leaders who attended and offered comments in support of the effort encouraging residents to continue precautionary measures included:

  • Therese Brown, Allen County Commissioner
  • Tom Henry, City of Fort Wayne Mayor
  • Mike Nutter, Fort Wayne TinCaps President
  • James Kahn, Owner of Hoppy Gnome, Proximo and Baker Street
  • Luther Whitfield, New Covenant Worship Center Senior Pastor
  • Herb Hernandez, Greater Fort Wayne Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Director
  • Marilyn Hissong, East Allen County Schools Superintendent

The following written comments were also offered in support by local leaders:

  • “We have a great opportunity with vaccines now being available to anyone who is 16 years and older, and we encourage everyone to consider receiving the vaccine,” said Terry Redmile, plant manager for BFGoodrich. “In the meantime, we also encourage everyone to continue wearing a mask when they are unable to social distance as a means to protect and respect one another.”
  • “We applaud and support these efforts as we have come a long way over the past year and see the finish line in sight,” said Brian Bauer, president of IU Health Fort Wayne. “We want to encourage everyone in continuing to stop the spread and receiving vaccine when eligible.”

Vaccine is now available to anyone 16-years-old and older at sites throughout Indiana. Eligible individuals can register for an appointment at or by calling 211.

Gov. Holcomb Extends Public Health Emergency, Signs new Executive Order

Update: March 31, 2021

Source: The Office of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb

Today, Governor Eric J. Holcomb signed Executive Order 21-08 to extend the public health emergency.

He also signed Executive Order 21-09 to adjust the statewide face covering mandate to be a mask advisory and lifts other requirements beginning April 6. Face coverings will remain mandatory in all state buildings and facilities and in all vaccination and COVID testing sites. K-12 schools will continue under current requirements through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

Click here to read additional details about the updates.

Click here to see the executive orders.

Update: March 22, 2021

Source: The Office of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb

INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric J. Holcomb today delivered a statewide address to lay out the road ahead for Hoosiers in the fight against COVID-19.

Click here to read the Governor’s full remarks.

“As we continue to isolate if you test positive, quarantine if you’re a close contact, and get vaccinated when you’re eligible, the light at the end of the tunnel becomes brighter and brighter,” Gov. Holcomb said. “It’s up to each and every one of us to do our part to stay on our course.”

Indiana’s current cases, positivity rate, hospitalizations, and deaths have all dropped drastically since mid-January and nearly a million Hoosiers are fully vaccinated. The state plans to open vaccine eligibility to all Hoosiers 16 years and older on Wednesday, March 31, provided Indiana receives a large increase in the amount of vaccine as outlined by the federal government. Additional mass vaccination clinics will be scheduled for April and the state will implement a large employer vaccination program.

Starting April 6, decisions about venue capacity and social gatherings will be made by local officials. Customers in restaurants, bars and nightclubs will no longer be required by the state to be seated. Six feet of spacing between tables and other seating will still be recommended as is spacing between non-household parties.

The statewide face covering mandate will become a mask advisory on April 6. Face coverings will remain mandatory in all state buildings and facilities and in all vaccination and COVID testing sites until further notice. K-12 schools will continue under current requirements through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

“When I visit my favorite restaurant or conduct a public event, I will continue to wear a mask,” Gov. Holcomb said. “It is the right thing to do. Hoosiers who take these recommended precautions will help us get to what I hope is the tail end of this pandemic.”

Local governments, private businesses and other entities may institute more stringent guidelines. The Indiana Department of Health will continue to provide county level, color coded metrics to provide easy to understand information about whether virus levels are increasing or decreasing locally.

The state public health emergency will be renewed for another 30 days, beginning April 1. This declaration allows the state to act quickly if conditions take a turn for the worse and allows the state to continue to access hundreds of millions of federal dollars to support Hoosiers recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.

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.


Indiana Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline

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


Mental Health Resources

Park Center – Fort Wayne, IN

Crisis Hotline: 800-552-0985


Northeastern Center, Inc. – Kendallville IN

Crisis: 800-790-0118


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

Phone: 574-267-7169


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

State and National Resources


Indiana Vaccine Signup: Call 211 or sign up online at

Indiana Department of Health:

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



Ohio Department of Health

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



CDC (Centers for Disease Control)

Hotline: 1-800-232-4636


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.


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.