Life has changed dramatically in the last week in Benton County, the state, and country due to the CoVID-19 virus and response.

School has been cancelled. Events postponed and new restrictions have been put in place at record speed in the state and country in an effort to curb the spread of CoVID-19.

According to county officials no cases of the CoVID-19 (corona virus) have been identified in Benton County as of Tuesday, March 17.

Local partners in Benton County gathered March 16 to develop plans in response to the CoVID-19 concerns. According to the Benton County Emergency Management and Homeland Security, “Partners from numerous agencies will stand up Benton County’s Emergency Operations Center, if deemed necessary, to ensure resources are available for the community.”

A phone resource number has been established 765-884-1359 for those needing assistance or those that have questions.

The Benton Community Schools including Sacred Heart Elementary will be closed through March 29.

Local Town Halls have also closed to the public.

The Town of Oxford canceled their March 16 Town Council meeting. The next scheduled meeting is April 6. The Council will re-evaluate closer to the date if the meeting will be held. At this time, the Oxford Town Council is suspending late fees and water disconnects due to non-payment for 60 days. 

Electronic payments may be made at: http://www.invoicecloud.com/oxfordin. Payments may still be made in the lockbox by the door. No change will be given for cash payments, accounts will be credited the overage. While the doors will be locked to walk-ins, Oxford officials are still working and are happy to help you by phone: (765) 385-2150.

As of 6 p.m. Monday evening the Fowler Town Hall closed to the public until further notice. Town officials will still be in the office normal hours to take any calls: (765) 884-0570. Payments can still be put in the drop box in the alley on the side of the building, mailed or paid online. Online payments can be made at townoffowler.com. 

Boswell Town Hall will also be closed. Officials will be in the office to answer phones, take payments over the phone, etc. Also, all events at the Boswell community center (i.e. bridal showers, baby showers, 4H Meetings, etc.) are canceled.

The Town of Otterbein, Town Hall building closed to the public beginning Tuesday, March 17 until further notice. Town officials will still be in the office normal hours and available to take calls: 765-583-4944. Payments can be put in the drop box located next to the front door entrance, mail payments, make a payment through the Farmers and Merchants drive through, or by credit card online. Online payments can be made through the link on their website, Otterbein.in.gov.

Currently, Benton County Government offices will be open. However, for the health and safety of County employees and the entire community, the following limitations have been put in place:

• If possible, all transactions and business with Benton County Offices should be done online or over the phone.

• If in person service is necessary, a scheduled appointment is required.

• No person shall be allowed in the Benton County Courthouse or other County Offices if that person has: 

– Been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital, or health agency; – Been diagnosed with or had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with CoVID-19; 

– A fever, cough, or shortness of breath; 

– Within the past 14 days, visited China, Iran, South Korea, any European Countries, or any other high-risk countries identified by the CDC; 

– or Traveled domestically within the United States where CoVID-19 has sustained widespread community transmission.

For up to date information, follow social media, and monitor sites such as the CDC, and State Health Department.

The Code Red notification system is also in use by Benton County emergency managers. The Code Red system is used to warn residents of immediately threatening situations such as severe weather and other emergencies. To sign up, text: BentonIN to 99411.