Press Release – 1-18-2022

January 18, 2022
Press statement from La Porte County Commission President Sheila Matias:

To answer questions which may arise following my directive as Commission President last week whereupon the County followed Michigan City government’s lead in conducting all public meetings via Zoom as a public health strategy, I wanted to follow-up with some additional information.
Enclosed, you will find the joint statement issued and signed by all five of our county’s judges on Friday 1.14.22. The statement declares that due to this public health emergency, the judges are continuing all jury trials until February 18, 2022 due to the high positivity rates for COVID. You will note the judges are still conducting regular court calls in person and/or via zoom but have chosen to avoid the large assembly of persons that come with selecting juries and conducting a jury trial.
Similarly, we are closing in-person public meetings and are not closing normal day-to-day building operations. There is much less risk in individual interactions between patrons and staff because we have many vaccinated staff; PPE is available for all staff and plexiglass protection was installed. In addition, there is a mask advisory for all county buildings. Please follow good health practices in taking care of the public, your colleagues and yourself.
The greatest risk of transmission is said to come from larger groups gathered indoors for extended periods of time – hence the move to virtual meetings. The public’s right to attend, observe and even participate during public comment is preserved and is not impaired by virtual meetings. Virtual meetings are a common business practice at this point. They will be recorded and aired on ALCO as was done previously when we moved to virtual meetings earlier in the pandemic.
With a 30.47 percent positivity rate in the past seven days and La Porte County and 81 other counties in Indiana placed in the Red Zone by the Indiana Department of Health, it makes good, common sense to take measures such as virtual public meetings to protect our employees and the citizens by reducing unnecessary risk. Please stay safe out there.

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