Emergency declared in Indiana county amid coronavirus case surge

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A northern Indiana county where a coronavirus outbreak prompted the closure of a Tyson Foods meatpacking plant has declared a state of emergency.

The Cass County Commission signed off on the emergency order Monday.

Indiana health officials reported 1,025 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, Fox 59 Indianapolis reported. Only two other Indiana counties have more — Marion with 4,926 and Lake with 1,586.

'FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN IS BREAKING,' TYSON FOODS CHAIRMAN SAYS AS PROCESSING PLANTS CONTINUE TO CLOSE

A Tyson Fresh Meats plant employee leaves the plant, Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Logansport, Ind. The plant will temporarily close its meatpacking plant in north-central Indiana after several employees tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

A Tyson Fresh Meats plant employee leaves the plant, Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Logansport, Ind. The plant will temporarily close its meatpacking plant in north-central Indiana after several employees tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

“It is not our intent to make things difficult,” said Cass County commissioner Ralph Anderson, a veterinarian. “It is not our intent to go around arresting people, fining people. It’s up to you to do your job. You are the ones that will end this crisis.

“You do your due diligence,” he added. “You don’t go where you don’t need to go. You don’t take your family with you—one person can do the shopping. One person can take care of the essential needs. One person can take care of their elderly fathers, grandfathers, people like me. But we have to practice social distancing.”

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Tyson announced last week it would temporarily close its Logansport plant that was the site of widespread illnesses and have all its 2,200 workers undergo coronavirus testing.

Tyson Fresh Meats plant employees line-up outside of the plant April 23, in Logansport, Ind. The plant will temporarily close its meatpacking plant in north-central Indiana after several employees tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Tyson Fresh Meats plant employees line-up outside of the plant April 23, in Logansport, Ind. The plant will temporarily close its meatpacking plant in north-central Indiana after several employees tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Logansport and county officials announced new orders prohibiting more than one family member and anyone younger than 16 from entering retail businesses. The orders also impose limits on the number of customers allowed inside and urge anyone entering stores to wear masks covering their mouth and nose.

While Cass County has had only one recorded COVID-19 death, its per-person infection rate is nearly four times greater than any other Indiana county.

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“This order is necessary to end this threat to the city as quickly as possible,” Logansport Mayor Chris Martin said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.