Officials: Help eliminate rumors

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Irresponsible rumors have become unnecessary distractions for officials working to prepare Montgomery County for the emerging COVID-19 disease.

City of Crawfordsville and Montgomery County officials want to be clear: There are no imminent plans to control citizen movement or functions to the extreme degree that has been so inaccurately circulated in recent days.

“There are no confirmed cases in Montgomery County and less than 100 in Indiana, so we are nowhere near the point where I would think that would be considered,” Montgomery County Administrator Mark Casteel said. “And it’s important to understand that the measures we’ve taken here this week are for a reason.”

While there is much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, there’s enough to be certain about that our focus is clear. Rumors and misinformation, however, always prove to be unproductive. Please remember that when those responsible for preparing for a public health emergency must stop to address a rumor, it takes away from what’s really important — the health and safety of the citizens of our great community.

“During these times, it’s critical to stay focused on managing the situation and staying ahead of it,” Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton said. “The citizens of Crawfordsville and Montgomery County are an important partner in our effort to limit an outbreak.”

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

• Make sure you are receiving updates and information from credible sources. Locally, information can be found on the City of Crawfordsville and Montgomery County websites and their social media channels. Local newspaper and radio provide local updates as well.

• Avoid unofficial Facebook groups and other social media channels that appear to be a quick way of finding information. It should be obvious how easily online discussion forums can lose control, making it difficult to determine what is fact and what is fabricated.

• When untrue information spreads throughout a community during an emergency such as this, there is an increase in fear and anxiety that is so unnecessary and unfair for our citizens to endure.

Instead, let us focus on what we know to be true:

• First and foremost, Montgomery County is special because of the
incredible citizens we have here. Take a moment to reflect on all we have endured together. Though the circumstances are unprecedented and with constant developments that seem unreal, we’ll get through this together as well.

• To be successful, we must look out for each other and especially for those most vulnerable. Directions such as washing your hands, staying home when sick and social distancing are so very important.

• The level of multi-agency cooperation in response to COVID-19 puts Montgomery County in a much better position thanks to planning and years of emergency management training.

Current and accurate information is available on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website (www.coronavirus.gov) or the Indiana State Department of Health website (www.in.gov/coronavirus).

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