Ryan Needham
Ryan Needham
The rumor mill has been working overtime.
First, Sheriff Ryan Needham felt compelled to post a statement on social media dispelling falsehoods that were making their way around the county. And then Friday afternoon the city and county issued a joint release on the same topic.
According to the release, 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.”
Needham echoed the point.
“I also want to address some misinformation that is being circulated around social media pertaining to lockdowns and restrictions of movement. While we live in a great community, unfortunately in times like this, some people will spread misinformation for a number of reasons. At this time, that is exactly what it is . . . misinformation. This is only causing additional stress and fear among the community.”
Officials went on to stress 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 citizens.
“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 media provides updates as well. The Paper has devoted considerable resources to making the “Local Coronavirus News” section of its website complete and up to date. To access it, go to www.thepaper24-7.com and click on the COVID-19 tile.
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.
City and county officials said they hope people will focus on these key items:
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).