As the City of Fishers plans to take the health of its community into its own hands, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he doesn’t plan to follow suit.
Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness announced April 23 that his city would form its own health department to manage contact tracing as well as provide free COVID-19 tests for residents.
“For far too long municipalities and mayors have only focused on the infrastructure, public safety and economic development of their cities,” Fadness stated. “In today’s economy, it is critical we add population health to this list.”
Brainard said he considered the idea after hearing of the plan in neighboring Fishers but decided against it.
“It doesn’t make sense to set up and spend the money to have two health departments in Hamilton County, one in the city and one in the county,” Brainard said. “That’s the sort of duplication of services we fought to avoid for years as we annexed parts of Clay Township.”
Fadness stated in an email April 30 that the city and county will not be duplicating services.
“The tax revenue will be collected in Fishers and we will be responsible for providing the services. The county will no longer tax Fishers residents for this service,” Fadness stated. “Public health and its integration in to our city operations is something my administration is passionate about. The world has changed due to this pandemic and our community is adapting to ensure we can be successful.”
Brainard said April 29 he offered to loan 10 to 12 Carmel employees to help the Hamilton County Health Dept. with contact tracing, but later that day Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the process would be handled by the state. Fishers plans to conduct its own contact tracing and report results to the state.
Brainard said members of the Carmel Fire Dept. plan to do contact tracing for city employees diagnosed with COVID-19. CFD has also been making visits to essential businesses to promote best practices for operating during a pandemic.