Thursday, March 19th, 2020

Changes due to virus threat

From staff reports

Mercer Health is postponing elective surgeries and procedures. Patients affected by this change will be contacted directly from their physician's office.

Elective status of surgical cases will be determined by the clinical judgment of Mercer Health physicians using criteria to ensure the safety and well-being of patients. Surgical procedures deemed necessary to avoid risk to life, permanent dysfunction, progression of disease or risk of rapidly worsening symptoms will still be performed.

Elective cases that do not meet these general criteria will be subject to postponement. This measure is being taken to conserve critical personal protective equipment and other supplies that are necessary to care for patients with COVID-19 and to preserve bed capacity for these patients.

This change will also minimize the number of people entering the hospital who don't need urgent medical care, which will reduce unnecessary exposure risks to patients, their family members and Mercer Health staff during this time of public health concern.

In addition, some patients may be asked to reschedule doctor or other medical appointments for their safety and to ensure ongoing and future health care needs can be met.

Mercer Health Medical Group offices, including primary care, pediatrics, OB/GYN and others, are also offering phone visits as appropriate. Phone appointments will meet insurance requirements and will be billed normally. Those who have an appointment that their provider feels can be done over the phone or should be rescheduled, the provider's office will contact them. If people are unsure if they should still go to their appointment, they should contact their primary care provider to help make that determination.

Additionally, starting today, no visitors are permitted at any Mercer Health location. These restrictions apply to all Mercer Health facilities.

Exceptions are as follows:

• One support person for Childbirth Center patients.

• End of Life situations - close family and clergy only.

• One support person for surgical patients.

• Minor patients, 18 years or younger are limited to only parents, guardians or primary caregivers.

• One support person for individuals with significant disabilities.

All visitors will be subject to screening for symptoms and travel or exposure history. Visitors will be asked to leave the facility if they have had symptoms of the seasonal flu or COVID-19, such as shortness of breath, cough, fever, chills, headache, vomiting, sore throat, muscle aches or diarrhea, in the past 48 hours or exposure in the last 14 days.

If a patient requires a driver, the driver will be asked to wait in the vehicle until the patient's appointment is completed.

Visitors cannot leave the patient's room and must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after leaving the building.

Visitors may enter,

• on the east side of the hospital by using the emergency entrance.

• on the west side of the hospital by using entrance 3, west entrance or entrance 2 and south entrance but will be stopped near the west registration for screening.

Hospital entrances that will be temporarily closed to the public are entrance 4 - The Cedar Table Entrance and entrance 1 - east entrance.

Celina Municipal Court

Celina Municipal Court has set the following new rules:

• Prosecutors and attorneys must conduct pretrials by telephone. The attorneys are to call the court at 419-586-6491.

• If defendants are representing themselves, they must also call for their pretrial at 419-586-6491.

• All changes-of-plea will be done in writing, unless it is imperative that the parties be present in person. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the court with input from the law director and attorney. If the change-of-plea is done in person, only the attorney, law director, defendant and victim may be present.

• If defendants wish to enter a not-guilty plea on a minor misdemeanor traffic offense, they are encouraged to submit a written plea. Forms are available on the court's website.

• People required to appear in court are not to bring anyone else with them unless absolutely necessary.

• While the court will continue to accept filings in person, it also accepts filings by facsimile and mail. The court's fax number is 419-586-4735. The court will also accept filings through its drop-box located in the lobby of city hall. If possible, the court encourages filings by fax and mail, instead of in-person.

This temporary order will remain in effect until further order of the court.

First Financial Bank

First Financial Bank announced steps to protect its associates and customers while continuing to support retail and commercial clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank will limit access to its banking center lobbies to ensure the safety of its associates and clients while continuing to provide full banking services. Clients are encouraged to use drive-thru lanes, ATMs, ITMs and digital services to conduct banking transactions.

Clients can schedule appointments to meet with bankers to open and close accounts and for essential services that cannot be handled through one of the other service options. Banking center phone numbers can be found at and through the First Financial mobile app.

First Financial also is developing relief measures for consumer and business clients to help alleviate some financial stresses. The bank has already increased limits for deposits made remotely with Snap Deposit in the First Financial Bank mobile app, while increasing cash withdrawal limits through its ATMs and ITMs.

Ongoing updates about the bank's response to COVID-19 are available at

City of St. Marys

St. Marys officials have approved no solicitation permits for anyone to go door to door within the corporation limits. Anyone noticing someone going door to door should contact the police department.

City officials will not issue any solicitation permits during this state of emergency.

Wabash free Wi-Fi

Wabash Telephone has set up temporary free Wi-Fi spots around Mercer County for those who do not have an internet connection during this state of emergency.

Users will be able to connect to this free wi-fi from their cars while still practicing social distancing. People should use the network named "Wabash Free WiFi," available from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at the following locations:

• Celina - Bryson Memorial Pool, parking lot northeast of the pool.

• Chattanooga - Chatt fire department, parking lot.

• Coldwater - Pla-Mor Lanes, north parking lot.

• Fort Recovery - Pavilion, parking lot west of the pool.

• Rockford - Shanes Park Community Building, east parking lot.

• St. Henry - St. Henry Catholic Church CCD Building, west parking lot.

People will not need to enter these facilities to access the free Wi-Fi.

Wabash officials thank these locations for allowing use of the property.


The deadline for farmers to apply for the H2Ohio program has been extended from March 31 to June 2.

Farmers must work with their local soil and water conservation district to register. With the current social distancing guidelines, in-person visits to SWCD offices are not recommended. To allow adequate time for the alternate means of communication necessary to complete applications, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is extending the deadline. Applications must be submitted and finalized by June 2.

Those interested in applying for these funds and have not yet communicated with a local SWCD, ODA recommends they call them as soon as possible to provide enough time to complete the application.

The H2Ohio program is open to farmers in the 14 counties of the Maumee River Watershed. Farmers should contact their local SWCD on how to sign up. For a complete list of SWCD offices, go to

Gordmans adjusts store hours

Stage Stores and its family of brands - Gordmans, Bealls, Goody's, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage - have reduced store operating hours. Until further notice, store hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Store staff also are taking the following actions to help keep guests and associates healthy:

• Increasing the frequency of store cleanings, paying special attention to frequently touched objects and surfaces such as register counters, shopping carts, door handles and restrooms.

• Reminding associates of their training on illness prevention.

• Advising all employees to stay home if they are not feeling well or if circumstances might lead them to do so and to seek medical attention if they have symptoms.

Company officials also encourage guests everywhere to take the extra precautions necessary to safeguard their health and the health of others. The public will be notified if additional changed occur, with updates posted at and

Additional online stories on this date
CELINA - A beloved school administrator and source of inspiration for many in the community and beyond died on Wednesday, prompting an outpouring of heartfelt remembrances and tributes on social media. [More]
CELINA - Authorities have identified the body of an adult male that was pulled from Grand Lake on Tuesday night as that of Tre Billger, a 26-year-old from Celina who was reported missing in mid-February. [More]
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• The Western Ohio Civil War Roundtable meeting is canceled for March 26. Whether members will meet on April 23 will be decided at a later date. [More]
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