Wayne County adds 144 new COVID cases Tuesday; drive-up vaccine, testing site at Ivy Tech closes Wednesday

Wayne County Health Department reported 144 lab-confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, Aug. 31, while state officials are offering a three-day drive-up testing and vaccination site at a local college to meet increased local demand. Of those new illnesses reported Tuesday, 54 were in ages 18 and younger. After a surge of positive tests in recent days, the 1,428 cases reported during August 2021 makes it the county’s second-highest month for infections. November 2020 has been the highest month tallied for Wayne County, with 1,801 cases.

Vaccinations paused at 3 local urgent care offices because of increase in patients; other sites available

COVID-19 vaccinations at Reid Health’s Urgent Care facilities in Richmond and Connersville and Reid Ready Care at the Richmond Meijer store have been paused to reduce the amount of foot traffic at the sites. All three locations recently have seen an increase in those needing urgent care services, according to a news release. “The numbers of patients we’re now seeing at those facilities have led to unusually long wait times,” said Misti Foust-Cofield, Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer for Reid Health, in the release. “This change will help to alleviate some of that traffic. “For those wanting to be vaccinated, there are still several options available, including our convenient clinic in the Kuhlman Center at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.”

Richmond man dies after shooting; woman accused of reckless homicide

A Richmond woman has been arrested on a charge of reckless homicide after a shooting on the city’s southeast side. Richmond Police Department was called to the 600 block of South Seventh Street at approximately 9:52 a.m. Monday after a report of a shooting. When officers arrived, a female could be heard screaming inside the home. They made contact with Sarah McKenzie Davis, 41, according to a news release from Capt. Curt Leverton. After going inside, officers and medics found a man on the couch.

Western Wayne Schools requiring masks starting Friday, Aug. 27

Western Wayne Schools is establishing new guidelines for social distancing and preventative measures and implementing an indoor mask mandate for all students and adults starting Friday, Aug. 27. New Superintendent Andy Stover said the change is “an ongoing effort to ensure the health, safety, and education for the children at Western Wayne Schools.” He said the guidelines can change the moment a decline of cases is seen within Western Wayne Elementary and Lincoln Middle/High School. Stover said they want to ensure a proactive approach before the number of rising cases “impacts our learning environment.”

Audio file: Hear the late Emmett Smelser discuss journalism, First Amendment


Emmett Smelser worked in several Midwest communities and spent some of his retirement years in Arizona, but he had committed to moving full-time to Richmond toward the end of his life. Smelser’s former local colleagues in journalism and those he met through many civic engagements are mourning his Aug. 13 death, which was announced by First English Lutheran Church in Richmond. Church officials said he had been in declining health in recent weeks. Smelser spent 38 years in the newspaper business, with 20 of those as a reporter and editor, and the remaining 18 as a publisher at Marietta, Ohio, as well as Richmond, Muncie and Marion in Indiana.

Some local schools, offices requiring masks; 1 school going virtual

Several news developments have occurred with local school and government offices regarding mask requirements in recent days, and one school is switching to virtual learning for one week because of a high number of cases. Wayne County is now in the state’s orange, or second-worst, advisory level for its number of COVID-19 cases and testing positivity rate. Read more in-depth information about many of these decisions in the Aug. 25 edition of Western Wayne News. SCHOOLS


Announced Monday afternoon (Aug.

Commissioners gathering Friday to discuss masking in county buildings

Wayne County Commissioners have put off until Friday making a decision about making masking mandatory in county buildings. They will meet at 2:30 p.m. Friday in commissioners’ chambers in the Wayne County Administration Building. The commissioners initially postponed taking a vote during their regular meeting on Wednesday, choosing to wait until hearing the opinion of the Wayne County Health Board, which met at noon on Thursday. When the commissioners met at 3 p.m. Thursday, Commissioner Mary Anne Butters reported that the health board “strongly” recommended that that public and private organizations, as well as schools, support masking while inside. On Wednesday, Indiana officials announced Wayne County had moved to the orange advisory level, or second-worst, after being in the blue, or best, level just a couple of weeks ago.