Kokomo Perspective 04 08 2020 E Edition Page A1

As cases of COVID-19 mount and death to- tals creep up around the state, the Howard County Coroner's ice is preparing for a poten- tial need in additional morgue space. Howard County Coro- ner Steve Seele said the county is in the process of procuring a tempo- rary morgue to create additional capacity for holding human remains should the need arise for more space. With spe- cial holding procedures in place for COVID-19 deaths and a string of deaths unrelated to the virus straining local ca- pacities, the coroner said his ice felt the need to prepare. The reason were go- ing ahead and doing it is to be one step ahead of the curve as several counties have done. Be- cause at 2 oclock in the morning I can't flip a switch and say, Get me a morgue here we have to have it in place now, said Seele. The morgue current- ly utilized by the coro- ner's ice, which is in a shared facility with Community Howard Regional Health, has cooler space for two bodies. Recently, the county undertook ef- forts to increase ca- pacity by construct- ing a new morgue in the Howard County Government Building Ventilators represent a critical need as the CO- VID-19 pandemic rages on, and local workers at General Motors are step- ping up in the nations time of need. On March 27, GM and Ventec Life Systems an- nounced the companies would partner to pro- duce VOCSN critical care ventilators in the auto- mobile manufacturers Kokomo facility. Over the years, the GM work- force in the City of Firsts had dwindled from thou- sands to about 180 where it stood recently before the plant was shut down as a precaution against spreading COVID-19. The ventilator produc- tion is expected to boost the workforce operating out of the Kokomo facil- ity to about 1,000. According to United Auto Workers Local 292 President Matt Collins, efforts are underway to prepare workers for their new task, and ventila- tors should be rolling off the lines in the coming weeks. Ive been doing my job as the president for almost 10 years now, and thats been my sole goal since we started is to try and get some work in here When I first got those bids I was like, Great, we inally got some work,' said Collins. Then you think about it for about 30 seconds, and its like this is way bigger than that though. Its great for the community, and its great for the country. To be part of something like that is an incredible op- portunity. Its awesome. Of the 1,000 workers being brought into the Kokomo facility, Collins said the first priority for rehiring went to the 180 local employees who al- ready held positions with GM in Kokomo. The sec- ond priority would go to Marion GM employees In the coming weeks, icials expect a surge in COVID-19 cases. What happens then, they said, depends on how people adhere to social distanc- ing guidelines to limit the virus spread. Last week, government icials, area hospital of- icials, and doctors made it clear during a press conference that the peak of COVID-19 infection is likely to hit soon, be- tween now and April 22, they anticipated. But no one knows sure what that will entail, especially since the height of that infec- tion rate curve could vary drastically. In Howard County, area hospitals have been preparing for this surge in cases, but one message became abundantly clear: if the population isnt proactive about limiting exposure to COVID-19, hospitals cant handle all the cases that are coming. I would say we have what we need, said As- cension St. Vincent Ko- komo President Margie Johnson. But we dont have what we need if we hit that peak. Its about preservation, right? I think a lot of times were hear- ing about the caregivers not having. Were preserv- ing, so were rethinking how we use all of our PPE, all of our supplies. Were rethinking how we re- purpose safely following all the CDC guidelines. But it is a different way of practicing. I would say we have what we need, but were not going to have MORE THAN 31,000 DISTRIBUTED WEEKLY & MORE THAN 350,000 MONTHLY PAGE VIEWS AT KOKOMOPERSPECTIVE.COM Kokomoperspective.com 209 N. Main St. - Kokomo 765.452.0055 April 8, 2020 Need to buy or sell a home? Call Christy Dechert 765.438.7952 SellingKokomo.com 748 S. Washington $150,000 by Devin Zimmerman News Reporter dzimmerman@kokomoperspective.com Area hospitals prepare for COVID-19 surge If curve doesn't flatten, hospitals 'can't care for all the patients' Hospitals A6 Ventilator A6 Morgue A6 by Devin Zimmerman News Reporter dzimmerman@kokomoperspective.com Seele PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID KOKOMO, IN PERMIT NO. 60 **************ECRWSSEDDM************** Residential & Business Customer Coroner ordering temporary morgue to prep for COVID-19 Ventilator production breathing new life into Kokomo's GM facility by Devin Zimmerman News Reporter dzimmerman@kokomoperspective.com Jansen's Tax Service 457-3940 1140 N. Phillips St. Kokomo Over 50 years of service! $ 25 00 OFF New Clients Only kp Perspective Photo / Devin Zimmerman CURVE - Dr. Martha Hoshaw displays models for the curve regarding COVID-19 infection as Howard County Health Officer Dr. Donald Zent looks on during a press conference last week. I hope we don't have to use it, but we better do it This is going to ramp up pretty quickly on us.' Perspective Photo / AJ Mast SOLUTIONS - General Motors' employees report to their first day of work Tuesday, March 31, at the GM manu- facturing facility in Kokomo where GM and Ventec Life Systems are partnering to produce Ventec VOCSN critical care ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees passed through a temperature scanning area upon entering the building, before participating in a Safety Orientation and Training Sessions. UAW Local 292 members training to construct life-saving devices

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